London Design Festival showcases electricity pylons of the future

From the minimalist ‘T’ pylon, to the slender ‘silhouette’ pylon and the futuristic, longbow ‘plexus’ pylon, the winners of the UK National Grid’s pylon design competition are on display at the Victoria and Albert museum as part of the London Design Festival.

One of the six winning pylon designs – take a look at them here – could replace the current steel lattice pylons that are familiar to the British countryside – a design has hardly changed since it was first conceived in 1927.

These new, modern and elegant pylons could be transporting electricity from the next generation of onshore and offshore wind farm plants and other renewable energies to consumers, as Britain starts a shift towards greener electricity.

“Britain will see the equivalent of 20 new power stations constructed by 2020, and we need to use electricity pylons to get this new, low-carbon energy to your televisions and toasters, dishwashers and DVD players,’ Chris Huhne, the UK’s Climate Sectretary said on unveiling the designs.

Nick Winser, National Grid’s executive director, said, “connecting Britain’s new power stations to our homes and businesses will be one of the great infrastructure challenges of the next decade and beyond.”

The public is invited to comment on the designs on the competition website until 5 October. A final decision on the winning design will be made at the end of October and comments will be taken into account by the judges.

Electricity infrastructure is not only an issue in the UK. Europe’s grids are ageing and nearly 50% of them need replacing. At the same time the energies of the future – renewable energies like wind power – are coming online. Europe’s grids need to adapt to this change in order to meet the consumer, climate and energy security demands of the future.

Zoë Casey,