France-UK tunnel link gets go-ahead

FRANCE/UK: A 1GW interconnector between the UK and France has been given the green light, with support from Siemens, Prysmian Cables and Balfour Beatty.

The link will be installed in the Euro Tunnel's north tunnel
The link will be installed in the Euro Tunnel's north tunnel

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The ElecLink project will see a 69km cable installed in the Channel Tunnel to carry power between the two countries. 

It is set to be the first time an interconnector cable will be installed in a working rail tunnel. Commercial operation is due to begin in 2020.

The project is being developed by the EuroTunnel Group. It said the project would have a low environmental impact as it could make use of the existing Channel Tunnel infrastructure for its cable system, thus avoiding any interference with marine life.

It will connect the UK grid at Folkstone, southeast England, with the French grid near Calais in northern France. 

Siemens has recieved the order to supply the two high-voltage direct-current converters stations to be installed at each end of the link. The foundation stone of the UK converter station was laid yesterday at a ceremony attended by UK junior energy minister Jesse Norman. 

Prysmian will design and manufacture the high voltage cables with the entire installation work being led by UK infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty.

The cable will be the second link between the UK and France, following the IFA cable installed in 1986. The new link will increase the interconnection capacity between the two countries by 50%.

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