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Lee’s Landmarks – Electric Mountain, Green Britain Centre and Brighton Pier

If you find that organising electrical jobs at your workplace can be hard work at times, imagine the challenges that those running major landmarks have to face. Here, we look at some of the awe-inspiring stats of three familiar landmarks.


Electric Mountain

The Dinorwig Power Station, known as Electric Mountain, is located 750m inside a mountain in Snowdonia National Park, north Wales. Exploratory tunnels were constructed around 1974 and the hydroelectric station was officially opened in 1984.

Run by First Hydro Company as a Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) power station, Electric Mountain acts as a back up when there is sudden demand for electricity, with underground cables connecting it to a substation at Pentir. It operates using the pumped storage system, where water is pumped up to a reservoir, then released down through turbines to generate power. Electric Mountain is also open to visitors, with a café and underground tours, plus conference facilities.

Essential stats
•    Cost of construction: £425m
•    Amount of steel used in construction: 4,500 tonnes
•    Amount of concrete used in construction: one million tonnes
•    Total length of underground tunnels: 16km
•    Height of machine hall: 51m

Electrical facts
•    Number of reversible Francis pump-turbines: six
•    Number of electromagnetic poles in each pump-turbine: 12
•    Average full power input: 275MW
•    Average full unit over all heads: 288MW generation potential (at full load)
•    Time to reach maximum generation: less than 16 seconds


Green Britain Centre

Located in Swaffam, Norfolk, the Green Britain Centre was set up in 2012 by the founder of Ecotricity, Dale Vince. Donated to a foundation in 2014, the centre is a blueprint for a more sustainable future, with particular focus on energy, transport and food.

The centre is home to one of Britain’s largest solar trackers, which follows the sun’s journey and capture its rays, transforming solar power into green energy. Its modern windmill is the only one of its kind open to the public in the world; there are also organic gardens, a cinema, theatre and an organic café.

Essential stats
•    Number of panels on the solar tracker: 44
•    Coverage of solar panels: 56m2
•    Number of steps to the viewing platform of the windmill: 300
•    Record-breaking speed of the Greenbird wind-powered vehicle on display: 126mph

Electrical facts
•    Kilowatts generated by the photovoltaic panels: 7.92KW
•    Annual electricity generation from each solar tracker panel: approx. 7,500kWh


Brighton Pier

Designed by Richard St George Moore (1858-1926), Brighton Marine Palace & Pier opened on 20 May 1899. The Concert Hall opened in 1907 and the pier was listed as a Grade II building on 20 August 1971. Divers are employed to maintain the steel substructure and the  pier is painted every year, over three months.

Today it offers traditional fairground rides, including a helter skelter, as well as gaming rooms and The Booster thrill ride, installed in 2006, which delivers a force of more than 3Gs in 2.8 seconds and rotates its passengers 360° at more than 40m in the air. Other attractions include restaurants and food kiosks, plus firework displays, music festivals and a Christmas markets.

Essential stats
•    Cost to build: £27,000 (£2m in today’s money)
•    Length of pier: 525m, the length of 35 double decker buses, end to end
•    Number of people employed on the pier today: approx. 400
•    Number of days open a year: 364 (365 on leap years)

Electrical facts
•    Number of light bulbs on opening night: 3,000
•    Number of long-life energy-saving bulbs on pier today: 67,000

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