T&D World Magazine

BritNed Electricity Connection Hits UK Shoreline

A significant milestone was achieved June 8, 2010, for BritNed, a joint venture between National Grid and Dutch transmission company TenneT to build a high-voltage electricity interconnector to connect the grids of the UK and The Netherlands, as work started to lay the first section of marine cable at the Isle of Grain in the UK.

The £500 million (€600 million) connection, which is only the second of its kind linking the UK with mainland Europe, forms part of a major program of investments by National Grid and TenneT to ensure a continuing security of supply helping to facilitate low carbon generation. The 260 km electricity cable between Maasvlakte (near Rotterdam in the Netherlands) and the Isle of Grain will also help to diversify supplies and improve competition with European markets.

Bill Russell, BritNed Director, said: “This joint venture between National Grid and TenneT has contributed to a more open and resilient market in Europe and will help to ensure a continued reliable supply of electricity for both the UK and The Netherlands by joining the transmission grids of both countries.

“Today’s event demonstrates the efforts and engineering expertise needed to make this new connection possible and I look forward to seeing the link ready for trading. The development of key commercial models to auction our products and services is nearing completion and the target date for commissioning is December 2010, with the BritNed interconnector ready for commercial operations by April 2011.”

The marine works, which involve bundling and burying two HVDC cables at the bottom of the North Sea by using a special cable laying vessel, are carried out in sections. Works to lay the cable at Maasvlakte took place in September last year. 50% of the BritNed cable has been laid and cable laying activities are planned to be completed before September this year. Due to the distance involved (260 km), direct current (DC) electricity is the only option to transmit power through the cables which connects to the converter stations.

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