Balfour Beatty consortium awarded €219 million ElecLink contract to install interconnector through Channel Tunnel
23 February 2017
Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, in a consortium with Prysmian Group, has been awarded a c. €219million contract by ElecLink Ltd to install a 65km electricity cable between France and Great Britain through the Channel Tunnel. This will enhance both the UK and France’s energy capacity and security, helping the two countries to meet their current and future energy needs and potentially leading to cheaper fuel costs.
The ElecLink interconnector will have a 1GW capacity, providing enough energy to power more than 1.65 million households per year. The project could support the development of Europe’s ‘super grid’, a future potential project that would lower the cost of power by allowing the entire region to share costs of creating and distributing energy. This would also lay the framework to increase significantly the use of renewable energy and decrease reliance on imported fuels.
The project will see Balfour Beatty continue its tradition of firsts in infrastructure with the world’s first installation of a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector in a live rail tunnel environment.
Balfour Beatty’s work, valued at c. €140 million, has drawn on its extensive experience in power transmission and distribution, construction and rail to lead the innovative design and installation of this project. The installation of the HVDC interconnector will involve laying two 50km cables through the North tunnel and connecting them to converter stations in Northern France and Kent. Prysmian Group will be responsible for the design and manufacture of the 320kV cabling and jointing services.
Balfour Beatty will deliver efficiencies in the construction programme through using offsite jointing facilities in Calais and Folkestone to assemble 2.5km sections of cable and computer modelling to model the build in a virtual environment. Balfour Beatty has developed a unique system for the transportation and installation of the cable which minimises risk, enables efficient installation and addresses the effect of high voltage cable heat emissions in a live tunnel environment.
Ian Currie, Balfour Beatty’s Managing Director for Power Transmission and Distribution, said: “Balfour Beatty’s expertise as an international infrastructure group has enabled us to create innovative solutions to fulfil the requirements of this project. As global leaders we have been trusted with the first ever installation of a High Voltage Direct Current interconnector in a live rail tunnel environment. We will draw on our extensive experience of cable tunnel engineering projects, including the London Power Tunnels electricity superhighway, to deliver the project successfully.”
The project will provide employment for up to 300 people.
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Notes to editors:
• Balfour Beatty (www.balfourbeatty.com) is a leading international infrastructure group. With 34,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
• Our main geographies are the UK, US and South East Asia. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
• Balfour Beatty’s Power Transmission and Distribution teams work with regional, national and international electricity network owners and operators to provide technical engineering solutions. With experience and expertise across the full spectrum of the electricity grid, including overhead lines, cable tunnels, substations and distribution networks, we deliver a range of proactive and reactive services which support a reliable and safe supply of power flowing to millions of homes and businesses around the world. Current projects within our portfolio include the NEMO Link - the fifth major interconnector into the UK which supports Europe’s ‘super grid’, and London Power Tunnels - a new 32km electricity superhighway deep below the capital, which will help keep Londoners connected to safe and reliable electricity supplies.
• ElecLink (http://www.eleclink.co.uk) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Groupe Eurotunnel. ElecLink is a new project to design, install and operate an HVDC 1000MW electricity interconnector between France and Great Britain via the Channel Tunnel. It has been selected by the European Commission as a Project of Common Interest that will contribute to the functioning of the internal energy market as well as promoting energy efficiency and the development of new and renewable forms of energy.
• Prysmian Group is world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, with almost 140 years of experience, sales of about €7.5 billion in 2015 and over 19,000 employees across 50 countries and 88 plants. It operates in the businesses of underground and submarine cables and systems for power transmission and distribution, of special cables for applications in many different industries and of medium and low voltage cables for the construction and infrastructure sectors. Prysmian is a public company, listed on the Italian Stock Exchange in the FTSE MIB index.