INFRASTRUCTURE: Eco Cable Protect technology approved… | McGowan Group
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INFRASTRUCTURE: Eco Cable Protect technology approved by SSEN

9 November 2023

Marking a major milestone for the patented cable wrap technology - following the successful use of McGowan Group’s patented Eco Cable Protect cable wrapping system by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) on a significant recent cabling project - the method has been officially approved for use on future projects by the electricity transmission and distribution giant.

Deployed at SSEN’s Burn of Whilk Cable Remediation Project, the revolutionary Eco Cable Protect cable wrapping system - which applies an Extruded High Density Polyethylene mesh wrap to power cables, completely negating the need for fine fill to surround underground cables - delivered dramatically reduced project costs and a staggering 85% reduction in CO2e emissions compared to using traditional fine fill surround.

Speaking about the cutting edge technology, SSEN’s Head of Strategic Planning and Sustainability, Shirley Robertson, said:

“This is a great example of how thinking sustainably can actually improve traditional project drivers like cost and time. 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.


Groundbreaking cable wrap technology

The Eco Cable Protect cable wrapping system - which works seamlessly with traditional open cut or, more environmentally friendly, trenchless cable burial methods - was recently showcased at SSE’s Burn of Whilk project. Comprising the installation of 21km of 33kV circuit in trefoil over predominantly unmade ground, including very 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 tonnes of CO2e with over 13,500 tonnes of fine fill required, equating to well over 700 HGV tipper movements, 21km of temporary roads required and multiple 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 tonnes of CO2e with the wrap applied by a single machine similar in size to a 3t 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 tonnes of CO2e, or 85% *.

Thereafter, the Eco Cable Protect system was deployed for the installation of over 60km of 33kV high voltage underground cable consisting of three circuits in trefoil for SSEN Distribution at Moy. as part a £7.2m project to deliver cabling across Inverness and Caithness.

Sustainability conference ‘excited’ by McGowan director’s presentation


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.

Mackay commented:

“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.

“As a company we take pride in being ‘Naturally Different’ applying an environmentally sensitive and sympathetic approach to civils projects. Often working in fragile and protected environments, we strive to minimise any impact, increase biodiversity - through positive reinstatement - and restore natural habitats on the projects we deliver.

“Our commitment to the environment sees us develop and invest in highly specialised equipment and machinery such as Eco Cable Protect. As evidenced at Burn of Whilk, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of a project, significant cost savings can be generated when using Eco Cable Protect considering the savings associated when there are no requirements for temporary access and fine fill material.”

SSEN’s Head of Strategic Planning and Sustainability, Shirley Robertson, added:

“It was great to have Derek on board at our conference, sharing the cable solution and it certainly created a lot of excitement in the room. That is the point of days like this - bringing and sharing best practice ideas so we can all move on together. Collectively we can save the planet!”

No in-service cable faults

As new technology to the UK market, McGowan has been working closely with clients to ensure that the product meets strict performance criteria. With over 80km of cable installed to date, not only have CO2e emissions on these projects been reduced by hundreds of tonnes and cost savings in the millions of pounds, there have been no in-service cable faults and the cable wrap has had no negative impact on cable performance. Sheath faults are almost entirely eliminated when cable wrap system is used.

* CO2e emissions calculated using the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Green House Gases Calculator

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