in association with

Sam Ridsdale, director of strategic accounts and regulatory affairs, Hitachi ABB Power Grids Distributed energy, Electricity transmission/distribution, Energy networks, Innovation, Skills, Smart grids, Technology, Opinion

Could tomorrow’s substation or converter station be functional, beautiful, and sustainable? A new initiative from Hitachi ABB Power Grids is seeking an answer.

As an energy industry, it is now a given that we must leave the environment around critical infrastructure in an equivalent or better state to the one in which we found it. However, we can do more, we will do better, and we need your help to explore how we can achieve both an improved major infrastructure system and an enhanced environment.

The ‘Substations of the Future’ competition has been launched by Hitachi ABB Power Grids in the UK alongside judging partners National Grid, SSE and UKPN, to stimulate fresh thinking about the role of energy infrastructure in our natural environment.

The ‘Substations of the Future’ competition is open to anyone in the UK aged 16 to 26 either actively studying or interested in the disciplines of environmental science, architecture, art and design, or sustainability.

Our competition invites entrants to apply diversity of thought and perception to a substation or converter station, considering how such infrastructure can be functional, beautiful, and sustainable at the same time. How could such a structure exist in consort with its environment and add to the ecosystem, not detracting from it?Entries should be made in one of three categories: Suburban; Coastal; or Rural.

We invite you to share your ideas about how to blend the transmission and distribution equipment into one of the three environments appropriately, so that the location is left in a better condition than it was before the infrastructure was developed.

There are endless options to consider, from restoring habitats for wildlife while disguising the visual impact of the substation or maybe it could be providing a system for enhanced soil stability while reducing the noise impact of a transformer?

Each category winner will be awarded £3,000 and second place £2,000. Entries can be submitted on an individual or team (up to four people) basis.

The competition closes on 30 September. For more information, please visit: Substations of the Future ( or email:

The competition guidelines provide entrants with details of key engineered and operational characteristics of a generic substation design with standard equipment for transmission and distribution found across the world. The competition is not specific to a project.

Utility Week and Hitachi ABB’s newly released Insight Report Catch 2050: Investing for Net Zero can be downloaded free at:

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