National Grid launches grid connection project to power Sunderland’s gigafactories

The UK Government has stated a vision for the nation to host 100 gigawatts (GW) of battery manufacturing capacity by 2030.

The New Hylton Castle substation is being built on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which spans 150 hectares of land across both Sunderland and South Tyneside local authority areas.

The substation will provide a new grid connection for Nissan, AESC UK and Sunderland City Council’s £1bn EV36Zero electric vehicle (EV) hub at IAMP.

Once completed in 2026, the extra high voltage (275kV) substation, with three new 100-tonne super transformers, is anticipated to create energy capacity on site equivalent to powering around 500,000 homes every day.

Alice Delahunty, president of National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “Plugging the site directly into our transmission network – the electricity superhighway that spans England and Wales – will deliver it a firm supply of power 24/7, and enable its operations that will support jobs and prosperity in the area for years to come.”

As part of the construction process, National Grid recently re-routed a kilometre-long stretch of pylons and overhead power line to run around the IAMP’s future perimeter, freeing up land to begin work on the substation and gigafactories.

Omexom and Taylor Woodrow (OTW) joint venture has been appointed as the contractor for the substation’s construction, with site surveys already underway and construction activity due to start in June.

South Tyneside Council’s chief executive Jonathan Tew said: “IAMP is a vitally important project which will support the growth of the UK manufacturing sector, this new grid connection will unlock enormous potential thanks to collaboration with National Grid and our colleagues at Sunderland City Council.”

The Park is backed with £42m from the UK government through the Local Growth Fund and North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Energy access challenges

The UK Government has stated a vision for the nation to host 100 gigawatts (GW) of battery manufacturing capacity by 2030.

According to National Grid, new demand sources such as gigafactories are expected to contribute to a 30% increase in Britain’s overall annual electricity demand between now and 2035.

However, MPs recently warned the UK Government that challenges with energy access and planning processes can hinder the nation from achieving its battery manufacturing goal, urging the Government to provide an update on the progress of its Advanced Manufacturing Plan and Battery Strategy by the summer of 2025.

Related feature: Is the UK losing out in the global EV race? 

Related article: Urgent Policy Action Needed: UK’s EV Manufacturing Future Hangs in Balance

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