BritNed begins laying UK-Netherlands marine electricity cable

16 September 2009 - BritNed, a joint venture between National Grid and TenneT, has started the first section of marine cable laying at Maasvlakte in Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

The 260 km long cable will be laid from Maasvlakte to the Isle of Grain in Kent in the UK and is expected to make a significant contribution to the security and diversity of electricity supplies in both the UK and The Netherlands.

It will also help to facilitate further competition by improving connection with European markets. The BritNed link will be available for trading in the first quarter of 2011.

The two HVDC marine cables are bundled together and buried below the bottom of the North Sea using a special cable laying vessel and support vessels. The cable will be laid in sections in 2009 and 2010. The first section is 29 km, including the landing at Maasvlakte.

The cables are installed as a bi-pole high voltage direct current interconnector, with a pair of high voltage electricity cables bundled together. Due to the distance involved (260km) direct current (DC) electricity is the only option to transmit power through the cables which will connect the converter stations at each end, TenneT said.

The two converter stations are built at Maasvlakte and at the Isle of Grain. The stations convert direct current to alternating current and then transfer the electricity to the British and Dutch high-voltage electricity transmission systems. Civil works for both converters are well in progress. Work is expected to start shortly to install electrical equipment in the converter stations.

ABB High Voltage Cables is responsible for producing and laying the cable on behalf of BritNed. The BAM Nuttall/Siemens consortium is responsible for the construction of the converter stations and for manufacturing and installing the converter equipment.

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