Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby Targer » Sat May 24, 2008 8:44 pm

These are all very interesting posts (too bad they are not contained in a book?). My own experience (of ~34 yrs.) has been in the research end of nuclear power generation. Whatever method is used, its all about steam generation, boilers, condensers, turbines etc.
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby cell » Mon May 26, 2008 2:48 pm

Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company Ltd

I had previously promised a timeline of the Clyde’s Mill station but I thought a brief history of the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company Ltd, who built this station along with Yoker and smaller stations in Lanarkshire, might be more interesting. I’ve compiled this from a number of limited sources, so what is below is my best interpretation of the limited facts available. If anyone has any additional info or spots any mistakes please let me know. I did come across some of the Chief Engineer’s annual reports in the Mitchell & Glasgow Uni Archives, which were excellent with great detail on the various expansions at each station, it would be great to see a full set of these. I will have to try and get to the NLS in Edinburgh who holds the SSEB records and which I believe also has various papers for the Clyde Valley however I suspect these will be company annual reports which tend to have a heavy financial leaning.

The Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company Ltd was formed in 1901 with the aim of generating and selling electricity to the numerous engineering concerns in and around Glasgow. The company initially planned 3 stations at Motherwell Yoker and Crookston (the Crookston station never materialised) and the company signed a contract in 1902 with the British Westinghouse Electrical & Manufacturing Co Ltd to design, equip and build the stations at Motherwell and Yoker. The intention was for each station to have three 1.5MW engine generator sets however late in 1902 the decision was made to switch to the new steam turbine alternators which were beginning to be adopted as the most efficient way of generating electricity and whose development Westinghouse was at the forefront. Orders were placed with Babcock & Wilcox for boilers in Oct 1903 for both stations. The company opted to install only two 2MW sets at each station but to include foundations for a third 3.5MW set at each. Before the stations were finished additional foundations for a fourth set at each had been approved in 1904.

The official opening of the Yoker station was on 21/06/1905 and supply commenced on 10/08/1905, Motherwell opened in January 1906.

Motherwell was first to be extended in 1907, with a 4MW set which proved problematic and had to be removed soon after by the manufacturer. To compensate, Westinghouse proposed a remedial plan which the company accepted and in 1908 the two 2MW sets at Motherwell were upgraded to 3MW each by rewinding, one of the 2MW sets was transferred from Yoker to Motherwell and temporary 1MW & 0.6MW sets were installed at Yoker. These appear to have been the only ones available from Westinghouse and were on an a sell back option for when more appropriate units were available. This demonstrates the rapid growth of the electricity generating and equipment supply industries at this time and illustrates some of the problems encountered. Generating company had to be prepared to be flexible, moving and installing equipment on short time scales and utilising what was available, equipment suppliers were designing and building ever bigger machines which often encountered teething problems requiring remedial work and machines to be juggled on the production lines, often machines had to diverted from other contracts depending the progress of the building works ongoing at the stations and the importance of the contracts.

In 1909 two 2MW sets at Yoker were rewound to provide 3MW each which suggests that the transferred set had been replaced at some time. By 1912 two further 5MW sets had been installed at Yoker and the 1MW & 0.6MW sets sold back. Two additional 5MW sets were also installed by 1912 at Motherwell, additional boilers at both works for these units were again supplied by Babcocks. These 5MW sets, at least at Yoker, were later rewound to give 6MW.

Although the market was there, it appears that the Motherwell station was not ideally placed to be further expanded, cooling water would have been an important consideration, and the company opted to build and develop the much larger station at Clyde’s Mill which opened in 1916. The Motherwell station was closed at some time around 1930, with the buildings demolished in the 1970s.

The Yoker station, situated on the banks of the Clyde, with plenty of cooling water and good access for coal supplies was further developed by the Company over the coming years. A 18.75MW set was installed in 1918, two 20MW sets in 1929 & 1931 and a pair of 30MW sets in 1937 and 1939. By 1949 the station capacity was 100MW. It is not known when the older smaller sets were decommissioned but the company did change frequency during this period from 25 to 50 hz which would have made the oldest machines obsolete. There is a 1932 reference to scrapping a 15 year old 25hz machine which is probably the 18.75MW set, implying that the smaller sets had been removed or replaced earlier, possibly as part of the installation of the 20MW sets. Early in the life of the station, boilers were not tied to specific sets and were often added to and reused with the newer turbines however as steam conditions advanced specific new boilers and boiler house extensions were required.

Work on the Clyde’s Mill station started in 1915, incidentally the station was named because the site was formally occupied by a mill owned by a Mr Clyde and not because of its location. It was opened on 1st Nov 1916, a second 6MW set was commissioned in 1918 bring the capacity to 12MW, this was increased to 49.5MW with the addition of two 18.75MW sets in 1921 and 1926. This section of the station was later know as the LP (low pressure) section to reflect the steam conditions. Between 1936 and 1949, four 30MW units were added which were known as the IP (intermediate pressure) section and brought the station capacity to 157.5MW. The two original 6MW sets were probably scrapped around 1939. In both 1952 and 1955 additional pairs of 30 MW units were added, these four new units formed the HP (high pressure) section and brought the total capacity to 277.5MW which at that time was the biggest in Scotland.

The turbines for the LP and IP sections were supplied by British Westinghouse, who later become Metropolitan Vickers, and for the HP section by English Electric. The earliest boilers were supplied by Babcocks, with IP and HP boilers being supplied by Yarrows. The physical development of the station can be seen in the aerial picture which I posted previously, the oldest part is to the left, each new section being added downstream, noticeable is that the chimneys reduce in number but increase in size with each addition, reflecting the trend towards fewer and larger boilers for each turbine. The cooling towers were added during the HP development and were designed to conserve cooling water particularly during dry periods. As I’ve mentioned previously a 55MW gas turbine was installed at the site in 1965 however this seems to have been independent of the main station and was used during times of peak demand. The gas turbine continued in used until 1984, after the station itself closed in 1978. The main station was demolished in 1984/85 with the gas turbine building being demolished in 2000.

The company was also instrumental in the development of hydro electric power in Scotland, through its subsidiary, the Lanarkshire Hydro-electric Power Company. The Falls of Clyde hydro-electric scheme was the first large scheme of its type built for the public supply of electricity. The stations, Bonnington (output 11 MW) and Stonebyres (output 6 MW) were built in 1926 and fully commissioned in 1927. They are currently owned by Scottish Power and are the oldest public supply hydro-electric power stations in Scotland.

Over the life of the company it took over a number of smaller supply and generating companies, notable the Kilmalcolm Electric Lighting Co Ltd which had built a small station in 1903, and also the supply orders which had been granted to some of the smaller municipal corporations around Glasgow.
The Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company Ltd was nationalised in 1948 and its assets transferred to the South West Scotland Electricity Board which was a division of the British Electricity Authority, in a further reorganization the On 1 April 1955, the two southern Scottish Area Electricity Boards were merged into the South of Scotland Electricity Board (SSEB) who eventually closed the Yoker and Clyde’s Mill stations in 1976 and 1978 respectivly.
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby cell » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:50 pm

I’m aware that no one has added anything to this thread for a while so I thought I’d give it a bump with a couple of recent finds. I’ve been to the transport museum tons of times and visited this week to get some pictures for the data bank thread. I nearly wet myself when I saw the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Co logo which is in the window of the electrical shop in the 30’s street. Then I came across the smokeless loco which must be one of the few bits of equipment from any of the Glasgow Power stations to survive.

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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby myfriendstan » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:30 pm

I work for ScottishPower. We used to have loads of pics of old substations. Wonder were they went.
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby cell » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:18 pm

Can you lay your hands on any pictures from the inside of any of Glasgow old power stations?
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby myfriendstan » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:43 am

I'll see what I can do. I used to be a safety rep and did some visits to s/s in the north of Glasgow. Unfortunately this was before camera phones were invited.
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby cell » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:17 pm

Image

All this talk about electricity reminded me that I've not added to this thread for a while, so here is a little bit of Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company hardware I came across recently, not quite as good as the current "Danger of Death" signs that you see today but still gets the message across.
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby Lucky Poet » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:48 pm

I like that - interesting to see a sign that doesn't have the graphic element of modern times. 'Be literate or die!'
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby myfriendstan » Thu May 14, 2009 9:33 pm

The new and the old.

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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby Raphael » Sun May 17, 2009 5:03 pm

Highly interesting cell. From my window at Dundasvale I see there is a pylon in the feed mill site at Port Dundas. Are they generating power up there for the grid?
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby Ronnie » Sun May 17, 2009 8:28 pm

The early history of the Glasgow Corporation Electricity Department is told in the book "Municipal Glasgow: Its Evolution and Enterprises", published by the corporation in 1914 (the Mitchell has a copy of this and other, similar, books published by the corporation as a kind of annual report).

The book "Glasgow [Buildings of Scotland series]" by Williamson, Riches and Higgs (Penguin, 1990) describes the premises at 75-77 Wellington Street, named as Electricity House, as being designed by A McInnes Gardner in 1927 for the Corporation's electricity department. Perhaps co-incidentally, opposite this at number 74 is Metro-Vick House (now Fortune House), designed by J Taylor Thomson in 1925 for the Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Company Limited.

The wonderful "Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow" by John R Hume (Blackie, 1974) has a chapter devoted to public utilities, including electricity supplies. He also lists - by geographical area - all the remaining structures (well, remaining in 1974) connected to that industry. With lots of lovely photographs (including the ones marked RCAHMS posted above, taken by Mr Hume himself).

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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby BenCooper » Sun May 17, 2009 8:37 pm

I've got a copy of that - I'll scan the pictures as soon as I have time...
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby cell » Wed May 20, 2009 7:40 pm

Thanks Ronnie, I’ve had a look at most of those books and gone through the annual reports at the Mitchell but please if you come across anything you think might help expand this topic it would be great to see it. As a city and country we owe a huge debt to JR Hume, it would be interesting to know if he approves of how RCAHMS and SCRAN restrict the use of his images.

Ben, any new pictures would be great.

Raphael, I’ve been after information for that site for a while but no luck so far, I suspect they are but I think the pylons you refer to may be one of the main grid connections to Glasgow and they are there because of where the old Pinkston power station was but I’m open to correction.

Detailed below is an extract from the 1904 Handbook on the Municipal Enterprises publish by the Corporation of the City of Glasgow book which is the best description I’ve come across regarding the early supply of electricity in Glasgow. Apologies for the verbatim reprint but I think it’s worthwhile having the original text up on the net. This book is a fund of fascinating facts detailing everything that the corporation operated.


ELECTRICITY DEPARTMENT

“Comparatively little had been done in the way of general electricity supply in Glasgow before 1880. By the Corporation Gas Bill of 1882 it was proposed to take statutory powers to supply electricity, but the clauses were struck out before the Bill came before any Parliamentary Committee for consideration. The nearest practical attempt towards a general supply was made by the British Electric Company, Limited, who laid down Gramme dynamos to light the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company’s St Enoch Street Station in 1879, and by the firm of R.E. Crompton & Co., Chelmsford, who laid down plant in 1879-80 to supply the North British Railway Company’s Queen Street Station with electricity at a stated charge; but these attempts did not develop into a general supply, the railway companies ultimately purchasing the plant and lighting the station themselves. The next attempt towards a general supply was made by Messrs. Muir & Mavor, who in 1879-80 laid down temporary plant on the area now covered by the Municipal Buildings, afterwards removing it to the basement of the General Post Office. Later, in 1884, they placed in Miller Street, permanent plant to supply the General Post Office in George Square, the cables from Miller Street being carried over the tops of the intervening buildings. In regard to the last mentioned supply, it is interesting to note that the Glasgow Post Office was the first post office in the kingdom to be lighted by electricity, and it has been stated that it was owing to the attention of the Post Office Authorities being called to the improved health of the Glasgow officials by the use of this system of lighting that electricity was introduced into London and other post offices.

On 6th June, 1988, the company of Muir, Mavor & Coulson, Limited, was incorporated, and purchased from the firm of Muir, Mavor & Coulson the plant in the Miller Street Station belonging to them. The new company also purchased ground in Little Hamilton Street, off John Street (City), and laid down plant for a general supply. The supply from the Miller Street Station was on the low-tension continuous-current system (100 volts), while the Little Hamilton Street supply, which was also conveyed by overhead wires, was on the high-tension alternating-current system (2,400 volts), transformed on the consumers’ premises to 100 volts. The company, in 1890, applied for a Provisional Order to supply Glasgow generally, as also did the Corporation, but the company withdrew their application in favour of the application by the Corporation, and the latter was duly sanctioned by the Board of Trade under the title of “The Glasgow Corporation Electric Lighting Order, 1890,” and the Act of Parliament confirming this Order received the Royal Assent on 14th August, 1890. Subsequently the Corporation agreed to purchase the company’s undertaking for £15,000.

On 1st March, 1892, the Corporation entered upon possession of Messrs. Muir, Mavor & Coulson’s undertaking. The supply on the high-tension overhead system having only been sanctioned by the Board of Trade to continue until August, 1893, the Corporation proceeded forthwith to lay down a central generating station for the low-tension supply. The Corporation, acting under the Gas Acts, having been constituted the undertakers of the new department, the Gas Committee were entrusted with carrying out the scheme, and in 1891 active steps were taken for putting the powers obtained by the Corporation into execution.

The Corporation purchased ground in Waterloo Street for £8,000, and commenced to erect thereon a generating station in the Spring of 1892. They also, on the advice of Lord Kelvin, adopted the low-tension continuous-current three-wire system at 200 volts pressure, to save the cost of altering existing consumers’ installations, which could be connected to the new system without exchanging the lamps.

On 25th February, 1893, the lighting of some of the public streets by arc lamps, supplied from high-tension continuous-current Brush dynamos, to which they were connected by long-series circuits, was publicly inaugurated, and on Saturday the 22nd April following, the general supply for private lighting was switched on. In August, 1893, the John Street high-tension alternating plant was shut down, all the consumers being transferred to the new low-tension underground mains supplied from Waterloo Street.

Owing to the rapid growth of the undertaking, it soon became evident that the space occupied by the special and separate lighting plant in the Waterloo Street Generating Station would be required for extensions of plant to meet the demands of private consumers. The committee then decided to remove the Brush dynamos from Waterloo Street to John Street, and there to utilise them for street lighting purposes in connection with the engines originally put down by Muir, Mavor & Coulson, Limited, the high-tension alternating-current dynamos having in the meantime been disposed of. The John Street Works, when re-opened and utilised for the purpose of street electric lighting, only supplied about 100 h.p. Matters continued in this position until 1897, the plant at Waterloo Street being increased from time to time, until during that year the whole available space was fully occupied with boilers, engines, and dynamos to a total of 3,300 h.p., which at that time provided a small margin of reserve power.

The street lighting being so inconsiderable, it was decided to alter the arrangements so that these lights could be run from the same plant as the private supply in Waterloo Street, with a resultant saving in cost. The John Street plant was thus again shut down, and the whole of the electric lighting, both public and private, was carried on from Waterloo Street Works. The committee soon found the necessity for extensions, and in order to meet these and the increasing dement for the supply of current from so wide an area as was comprised between Glasgow Cross on the one hand and Park Circus on the other, two temporary accumulator sub-stations were erected, one in Tontine Lane, Trongate, and the other in Claremont Street. The object of these sub-stations was partly to avoid transmitting heavy loads through the mains during the longest lighting hours, a matter involving considerable loss at the low pressure of 200 volts, or a very large expenditure in extra heavy copper mains, and partly to relieve the maximum load upon the generating plant. The arrangement of working was to charge up the accumulators when both plant and mains were under easy load, and to discharge them during the two or three hours of the afternoon or evening maximum load, the discharge current, of course going to feed the local districts around each sub-station.

The committee then turned their attention to the question of purchasing sites for entirely new works, one for the north and another for the south side of the river; and during the year 1897 arrangements were made for the purchase of about four and a half acres of ground at Port-Dundas, adjoining the Forth and Clyde Canal at Speirs’ Wharf, and about two acres of ground close o Eglinton Toll, or St Andrews Cross, in Pollokshaws Road.

The works and whole undertaking of the Kelvinside Electricity Company were purchased and taken over by the Corporation in August 1899.

When the electric lighting supply was commenced by the Corporation probably no one had any idea of the magnitude to which the undertaking would so rapidly attain. The following tabulated statement shows at a glance the progress of the undertaking since the date of its inauguration in 1893, and there is no indication of any abatement in the demand for current in the near future. On the contrary, everything points to that demand increasing from year to year, and to the rate at which this increase is taking place being steadily maintained or even augmented. See page 123.

The demand for electric motive power is rapidly growing, and now amounts to over 6,000 h.p in motors of all sizes, which are used for many different purposes.

The new Port-Dundas and Pollokshaws Road Works will be found worthy of a visit. There former contains engines and dynamos of both American and British manufacture, and of both high-speed and low-speed types, and in various sizes from 200 h.p. to 2,400h.p. each unit. The largest engines were built by Messrs. Willans & Robinson, and the dynamos by the Westinghouse Company. The remaining engines are by the Ball and Wood Company, Messrs. Matthew Paul, Messrs. Mirrless & Watson, Messrs. Belliss & Morcom, and Messrs. Willans & Robinson, and the dynamos by the Walker Company, the Schuckert Company, Crompton & Co., and the British Thomson-Houston Company. The condensing plant is all driven by electric motors, the air pumps being of Edwards’ patens design. The switchboards and recording gauges are of considerable interest, being specially designed for the purpose, and containing some departures from ordinary practice. They have been constructed by Kelvin & James White, the Holland House Manufacturing Company, Messrs. Mechan & Sons, and Messrs. Laing, Wharton & Down. They are mostly, therefore of local production.

The total cost of the electricity works of the Corporation, including mains, up to 31st May, 1904, has been approximately £1,150,000. This expenditure does not, of course, include the cost of the Corporation tramways electrical system, which is an entirely separate undertaking.

Large extensions are now in progress at Port-Dundas, where a second third of the whole design for the buildings is being erected. This will complete the northern end of the generating station, and will contain another chimney some 230 feet in height. After the most careful investigation, it has been decided to put in two steam turbines of 3,000 kilowatts capacity each, and orders have accordingly been placed for those turbines with Messrs. Willans & Robinson, of Rugby, while the alternators, which will be of the three-phase type, working at 6,500 volts, and at a periodicity of 25 cycles per second, are being constructed by Messrs. Dick, Kerr & Co. at Preston. The surface-condensing plant, which is a very important matter with steam turbines, will be immediately below them, so as to make the connections as short as possible, and is being constructed by Messrs. W.H. Allen, Son & Co., of Bedford. The switchboard for the control and measurement of high-tension currents is a very extensive affair, as experience has shown the necessity for the utmost care in designing and constructing this part of the electrical equipment. The order for this portion of the work has been placed with Messrs. Witting, Eborall, & Co. The boilers for this extension are to be, like those already in use, if the Babcock Company’s make, but of the largest size yet constructed, having a grate area of 100 square feet and a heating surface of 6,182 square feet each, the working steam pressure being 200 lbs. per square inch, and each boiler being fitted with superheaters to give about 200 degrees of super heat. Space is provided for economisers, which will be put in in due course.

The high-tension current generated by the new turbo alternators will be taken to various sub-stations in the city, but principally at present to the sub-station in Waterloo Street, which is the original generating station, from which, however, all the steam and generating plant has now been removed. Motor generators, which are being supplied by the Electrical Company, will be placed in these sub-stations by means of which the high-tension three-phase current will be converted into continuous 500-volt current on the three-wire system supplied at 250 volts on each side. It is not necessary in the present circumstances of demand to utilise these sub-stations, except in the dark winter months, and then only on the afternoon shifts, to meet the excessive peak load in the city.

As regards St. Andrew’s Cross Electricity Works, there is no need to extend the buildings, as they were practically completed in the first instance, but preparations are now being made to put in a steam turbine of 1,400 kilowatts capacity, which also is being constructed by Messrs. Willans & Robinson. The turbine will drive two continuous-current dynamos, giving a pressure of 500 to 600 volts each, which are being constructed by Messrs. Siemens Brothers & Co. at Stafford. The boilers in this generating station will also be of the Babcock & Wilcox type, exactly like those already installed. They will each have a grate area of 76 square feet and a heating surface of 4,020 square feet, the steam pressure being 200lbs per square inch, and the superheaters being constructed to give 200 degrees of superheat. The new boilers, however, will be erected with the special arrangement of boiler setting designed by Mr H. W. Miller, of the Kensington and Knightsbridge Electric Lighting Company, Limited, in London. One boiler has already been erected with this arrangement of setting, and has proved most satisfactory in economical performance, in output, and in smokeless combustion. This one boiler may be seen at work on paying a visit to this station.

There being no canal or river from which water can be circulated for condensing purposes, it has been necessary to order cooling towers to be placed in the tanks over the boiler house, by means of which the water from the condensers connected with the turbine and the engines will be cooled. The order for one of these towers has been placed with Messrs. Richardsons, Westgarth & Co, of Hartlepool, this being of the Koppel type, and two smaller ones have been ordered from Messrs. Klein & Co, of Manchester.

Up to the present time the supply and distribution of electricity throughout the city has been carried on practically by means of low-tension 500 volt continuous current throughout, with feeders radiating from the two separate stations. Last winter a departure was commenced upon by converting the old Waterloo Street Generating Station into a sub-station, and taking a temporary supply of high-tension current from the surplus plant of the Tramways Department, which is situated at Pinkston. Low-tension feeders are now also run from the Waterloo Street Sub-station, and it is intended before the coming winter to erect a similar sub-station on part of the Dalmarnock Gas-works, which are being superseded by the new gas-works at Provan. Low-tension feeders will also be laid from this sub-station for the supply of lighting and power in the east end of Glasgow.

Fully half the capital expenditure of the undertaking is, as is usually the case, for mains, though these are seldom given the attention which their great importance deserves. All the low-tension mains which have been laid by the Electricity Department in the city for some time past are of the triple-concentric type, some of them with lead sheathing, but all of them during the last two years or so with vulcanised bitumen sheathing. They are laid in wood troughs of ample size, and run in solid with pitch and asphalte oil. Large manholes, measuring some 6 square feet and 6 feet deep, are placed at the feeding points within the city, and from these the distributing cables or mains radiate in all directions, each main being fitted with positive and negative fuses in the manhole. In districts where it can be arranged, section pillars above ground are now being used in place of the underground manholes. The whole arrangement has been most carefully systematised and standardised.

The number of meters at present connected to the mains is 9,324.”
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby penguinmonkey » Thu May 21, 2009 12:39 pm

That was definitely interesting especially to see how some of the terminology used has changed for instance the use of pressure to mean current. While we still talk of high and low tension supplies
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Re: Power Stations & Electricity Generation in Glasgow

Postby BenCooper » Fri May 22, 2009 10:20 pm

Pressure actually makes a lot of sense when talking about voltage. Anyway, pictures:

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