SP Group building South-east Asia's first large-scale underground substation in Labrador

The Labrador underground substation is part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's underground Master Plan 2019. PHOTO: SP GROUP

SINGAPORE - Spanning some three hectares - the area of four football fields - South-east Asia's first large-scale underground substation is being constructed in Labrador, optimising space in land-scarce Singapore.

The land above the underground substation, which will also be Singapore's largest, will be used for a 34-storey commercial development, power company SP Group announced on Tuesday (April 6).

Both the electrical substation and the commercial building at the site of the former Pasir Panjang Power District are due for completion in 2024.

The company awarded the main contract for the building of the 230kV substation to Hyundai Engineering & Construction.

The project is in line with Singapore's urban renewal plans and SP Group's own goals of ensuring access to reliable, sustainable energy for all, and building sustainable infrastructure, said its group chief executive Stanley Huang.

The Labrador substation will serve the electricity needs of nearby Alexandra, Clementi, Keppel, Pasir Panjang and the Science Park district.

Substations are part of essential infrastructure for homes, commercial buildings and public services, transforming high voltage electricity to lower voltage so that it can be easily supplied to end-users.

SP Group said building a substation underground is typically more resource-intensive and requires specialised engineering capabilities.

Equipment in the substation must be of low fire risk, with cooling systems installed to prevent any heat build-up.

But the long-term benefits of building substations underground outweigh the costs, the utilities company said. "In addition to optimising land resources for other purposes, underground substations have a lower risk of being exposed and damaged."

This would enhance asset and network security, it said.

Mr Huang said the company will be able to deal with the complexities of the project based on its extensive experience with constructing Singapore's underground electricity cable tunnels. "With the learning and experience gathered from this project, we can explore the possibilities of housing more substations underground."

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