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Welsh road network sees first-of-its-kind load to boost green energy infrastructure

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Abnormal load movement on A40

The strategic road network recently played a vital part in supporting the growth of renewable energy in Wales when it was used to transport an enormous 300-tonne vehicle carrying an electric generator.

The trailer used to transport the load measured, approximately, 4.4 metres wide, 40 metres long and was made up of 18 sets of hydraulic wheels. This enabled the weight to be automatically distributed across all axles. The generator began its 38-mile journey at Newport Docks, carefully navigated the A48, A449, A40 and A465 carriageways before arriving on site at Rassau in Ebbw Vale.
The challenges posed by the site’s location could only be met by utilising the Welsh strategic road network rather than attempting delivery by rail. 

The movement required careful collaboration with a range of partners including: the South Wales Trunk Road Agent (SWTRA), working on behalf of the Welsh Government; Welsh Power; Rassau Grid Services Limited; Siemens Energy; Allelys, the specialist hauliers, and Gwent police who escorted the load throughout. 

Months of preparation, planning and assessment took place to ensure that the 61 structures the load traversed were capable of safely carrying it. In addition, the precise timings of the movement were carefully coordinated with the current A465 dualling project between Brynmawr and Gilwern. 

Now that this ground-breaking technology has arrived on site, it will help manage the stability of the national power grid. This in turn will allow more renewable electricity to be used. In the past, grid stability has been predominantly maintained by fossil fuel power plants. However, by replacing them with this new technology, the same stability can be maintained without the emissions and at a lower overall cost. Discover more about the developer’s, Welsh Power, world-first approach to managing grid stability here.

Richard Jones, SWTRA’s Head of Service, said: “We were delighted to be able to facilitate this movement on our trunk road network. A lot of hard work took place between ourselves and key partners to ensure this was achieved with the least amount of disruption possible to the network’s infrastructure and the people who use it.”  

Alastair Fraser, CEO of Welsh Power added that: “I would like to thank and congratulate SWTRA, the Welsh Government, Allelys and every one of the 12 different organisations involved in the permit and delivery of the generator to site, for their excellent teamwork and professional approach.  Everyone involved has played a part in helping to ensure that the Rassau project, which is the first major grid stability project in Wales and essential infrastructure in National Grid’s mission to create a zero carbon electricity network, will be operational this year.”

Abnormal load movement on A40 Raglan

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