Mission Critical

10.02.11

Following the issue of the Pitt report on the summer 2007 floods, and Industry guidance (Engineering Technical Report 138) RPS has completed flood risk assessments (FRAs) for the critical infrastructure at over 150 electricity substations owned by the UK’s major Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) who provide power to South West England, South and West Wales and also the English Midlands. RPS is a major supplier of flood risk assessment advice to these clients. RPS also incorporates into its FRAs advice on flood resilience solutions and indicative costs for implementing the solutions.

Protecting a sub station may involve costs of several hundred thousand pounds, and moving a substation location to a low risk area can run to several million pounds. In addition, flood level estimates incorporate a degree of uncertainty, and since a flood height difference of as little as 0.5 m can mean a difference of several hundred thousand pounds in flood protection costs, it is important for DNO clients to have confidence in the information being provided as the basis for these important investment decisions.

RPS’ successful working relationship with our DNO clients has now led to commissions to undertake hydraulic modelling work for a number of key electricity substation sites where the site is at risk but where there are no accurate flood level data available against which to determine resilience design and costs, or where existing flood level information is considered unrealistic or unreliable. The work comprises review and update of existing river and tidal models and construction of new models where required. Hydrology teams in several UK offices are involved in the projects.

In a sector where client confidence in its consultants is key, RPS is well placed to grow market share, and is also developing capability in the field of network flood resilience that has wider applications to water, waste and telecoms infrastructure.