Western Power Distribution is providing a £700,000 boost to net zero plans in South Wales by installing a second transformer at its existing primary substation near Chepstow.

The Newhouse transformer will increase capacity on the network to accommodate demand growth and support development of infrastructure options such as road, rail, water and gas, plus electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs and net zero-ready homes and streets.

Funding for the work is coming from the Green Recovery Project, which has seen Western Power Distribution (WPD) work alongside regulator Ofgem and the wider electricity industry to unlock early investment in distribution networks to support the transition to net zero.

Under the project, WPD, which looks after the electricity network in the Midlands, South West England and South Wales, is investing an extra £60million in its network between 2021 and 2023.

This investment provides a foundation for the emerging technologies needed for a net zero future while also facilitating green energy development and green jobs.

At the end of 2021, there were 5,337 EV chargers connected to WPD’s network in South Wales and 5,655 heat pumps.

WPD, joint headline sponsors of The National Environmental Awards, is predicting that by the end of 2026 there will be 60,068 EV chargers connected along with 78,663 heat pumps.

By the end of 2030, the numbers will have swelled to 206,342 EV chargers and 186,634 heat pumps.

WPD’s Green Recovery Project manager, Mark Mears, said: “In addition to replacing the transformer, we will replace switchgear and undertake minimal cable works to allow for the new connection.

“This will benefit over 2,000 customers in the area by increasing demand capacity and generation capacity by 7MW each, to allow for smarter networks, plus further secure their supply.”

The project is set to be completed in December 2022.