Prysmian cable-laying ship

Cable laying expected this year for UK-German power link

Image credit: Prysmian Group

Construction of a 1.4GW electricity link between the UK and Germany is expected to begin later this year, following the announcement that backers of the NeuConnect project have chosen Prysmian Group to carry out all the cabling work.

Prysmian, a leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, has been awarded a contract worth around €1.2bn (£990m) for the turnkey design, manufacturing, installation, testing and commissioning of the 725km submarine interconnector, which will directly link the German and UK electricity grids for the first time.

This 1400MW submarine and land cable system will connect two of Europe’s largest energy markets, promoting the efficient use and integration of renewable energy generation resources in both Germany and the UK.

The cable will run through UK, Dutch and German waters between converter stations on the Isle of Grain in Kent and Wilhelmshaven in Lower Saxony. Contracts for the converter station works are expected to be signed in the coming weeks.

Prysmian will provide the complete cable system to be operated at ±525kV HVDC using mass-impregnated (MI) paper-insulated cables, and include fibre-optic cables on the land and selected submarine sections, complemented with state-of-the-art cable monitoring systems.

The submarine and land power cables will be manufactured at Prysmian’s centre of excellence near Naples, Italy. Offshore installation activities will involve three of the group’s own cable-laying vessels. Commissioning of the project is scheduled in the second half of the decade.

NeuConnect is a privately financed project developed by a group of international investors that include Meridiam, Allianz Capital Partners and Kansai Electric Power. Its publicity material notes that this is one of the largest interconnectors being delivered, “but despite its scale and complexity, the development of the project has progressed at significant speed. In just four years, NeuConnect has progressed from a newly set-up company to being just a matter of weeks away from financial close, allowing construction to start later this year.”

Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects at Prysmian Group, commented: “When completed in the coming years, NeuConnect will join the world’s longest interconnectors. Moreover, it is one of the first interconnectors to be financed through a project financing arrangement, demonstrating that the major infrastructure projects needed to deliver the sustainable energy goals in Europe are supported by private investment.”

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