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SP Group building Southeast Asia's first large-scale underground substation

SP Group building Southeast Asia's first large-scale underground substation

Construction is underway at the Labrador underground substation. When in service upon completion in 2024, the substation will meet the electricity needs of nearby towns such as Alexandra, Clementi, Keppel, Pasir Panjang and the Science Park district. (Photo: SP Group)

SINGAPORE: SP Group is building Southeast Asia's first large-scale underground substation in Labrador, in a move to optimise space for urban development in land-scarce Singapore, the utilities provider said on Tuesday (Apr 6).

Scheduled for completion in 2024, the substation will serve the electricity needs of nearby towns such as Alexandra, Clementi, Keppel, Pasir Panjang and the Science Park district.

By going underground, the Labrador substation will free up 3ha of prime land, equivalent to four football fields, said SP Group in a news release.

This will free up the space above the substation for a 34-storey development, said group CEO Stanley Huang. The commercial building is also due for completion in 2024.

READ: SP Group launches green credits for customers to offset emissions from electricity consumption

This development is in line with Singapore's urban renewal plans and SP Group's own United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring access to "reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all" and building sustainable infrastructure, he said.

Substations are part of essential infrastructure that power homes, offices, industries and public services, said SP Group.

The Labrador substation will be a 230kv facility that can power up to eight towns - each the size of Toa Payoh - when it is running at full capacity, said the company. 

READ: Electricity tariff for households to increase by 8.6% for April to June period

Building a substation underground is typically more resource-intensive than building above-ground, and requires specialised engineering capacities, said SP Group.

This is because of "complexities" in construction and the need to use materials and equipment that are suitable for the subterranean environment, it said.

For example, detailed engineering studies and suitable construction methods are used to control the impact to surrounding buildings. Equipment in the substation must also be of low fire risk, with cooling systems installed to prevent heat build-up.

However, the long-term benefits of building substations underground outweigh the costs, said SP Group.

READ: First water, now energy as Singapore's key challenge for the next 50 years: Chan Chun Sing

Aside from optimising land resources for other purposes, underground substations also have a lower risk of being exposed and damaged. This will enhance asset and network security, said the company.

"Leveraging our extensive experience in constructing the underground electricity cable tunnels that span across Singapore, we will be able to deal with the complexities of building this underground substation," said Mr Huang.

With the experience gathered from this project, SP Group can explore the possibilities of housing more substations underground, he added.

The building contract for the substation has been awarded to main contractor Hyundai Engineering & Construction.

Source: CNA/dv(ta)

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