Consortium Awarded €219 million ElecLink Contract To Install Interconnector Through Channel Tunnel

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.”