SSEN approves McGowan cable wrap


Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks recently approved McGowan Group’s patented Eco Cable Protect for use on future projects. The cable wrapping system applies an extruded high density polyethylene mesh wrap to power cables, which delivers reduced project costs and an 85 percent reduction in CO2e emissions compared to using traditional fine fill surround.

“This is a great example of how thinking sustainably can actually improve traditional project drivers like cost and time,” said Shirley Robertson, SSEN head of strategic planning and sustainability. “Planning in enough time to think about the actual problem at the start of a project and all parties being open to doing things differently has delivered impressive results. Proving it’s not one or the other, true sustainability thinking drives improvements across the board and for the long term.”

The Eco Cable Protect wrapping system applies an extruded high density polyethylene mesh wrap to power cables, which delivers reduced project costs. (Courtesy: McGowan Environmental Engineering)

The Eco Cable Protect cable wrapping system works with traditional open cut or, more environmentally friendly, trenchless cable burial methods were recently showcased at SSE’s Burn of Whilk project. Comprising the installation of 21 kilometers of 33kV circuit in trefoil over predominantly unmade ground, including deep peat, the original design required providing a fine fill sand surround to the cable.

Using traditional fine fill surround would have generated an estimated 244 tons of CO2e with more than 13,500 metric tons of fine fill required, equating to well over 700 HGV tipper movements, 21 kilometers of temporary roads required and large excavators and dumpers operating continuously to distribute the fine fill.

In contrast, the manufacture, delivery to site, and application of McGowan’s proprietary cable wrap system generated just 37 metric tons of CO2e with the wrap applied by a single machine similar in size to a 3-ton mini excavator and one operator and no requirement for temporary roads. By opting for Eco Cable Protect cable wrapping system, emissions at Burn of Whilk were reduced by 207 metric tons of CO2e, or 85 percent.

Following the success of recent projects for SSEN, McGowan Group director Derek Mackay, was invited to deliver a presentation on the cable wrapping system at SSEN Distribution Sustainability supplier conferences in Reading and Perth.

“We love nothing more than working with partners like SSEN who share our passion for reducing the environmental impact of their projects and to have our new cable wrap technology accepted by SSEN for use on future projects is a game changer for both McGowans and how the industry approaches power line cabling in the future,” Mackay said.

With more than 80 kilometers of cable installed to date, CO2e emissions on these projects have been reduced by hundreds of metric tons and cost savings in the millions of pounds, and there have been no in-service cable faults and the cable wrap has had no negative impact on cable performance. Sheath faults are almost eliminated when cable wrap system is used.

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