UK launches pylon design competition

The UK’s National Grid has launched a competition to design the electricity pylons of the future that will carry green electricity from onshore and offshore wind farms, and other power sources, to the consumer.
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The UK has around 88 000 pylons built in a steel lattice tower using a design that has barely changed since the 1920s.
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Chris Huhne, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “The dual challenge of climate change and energy security puts us on the brink of a new energy construction age. The equivalent of 20 new power stations is needed by 2020, much more beyond that, and they’ll all need connecting to the grid.”
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“I hope that the pylon design competition will ignite creative excitement, but also help the wider public understand the scale of the energy challenge ahead of us,” he added.
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The UK’s competition follows similar competitions in Italy and Iceland. Designs included a series of giants striding across the landscape holding cables in their hands, and lean Y-shaped pylons intended to resemble the shoots of new plants.
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Architects, designers, engineers and students of these disciplines are all invited to take part for the GBP10 000 ($16 131) prize. The competition will be open for entries until July 12, after which the shortlisted candidates will have the chance to work with National Grid on their designs. The final contenders will be open for public comment in September before a final choice is made by the panel in October.
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