EirGrid plc has appointed international engineering consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) as Employer’s Representative on the East West Interconnector Project, an HVDC (high voltage direct current) power interconnection between Ireland and the UK. PB will perform the role with its alliance partner, marine environmental design and risk management specialist, Metoc plc.
Linking the electricity grids of Ireland and the UK, the subsea interconnector is being developed, and will be owned, by EirGrid, the independent Irish electricity grid operator, working closely with the Commission for Energy Regulation in Ireland. The 500-MW interconnector will increase security of supply and competition in the Irish electricity market, and is due for completion in 2012.
EirGrid’s Project Director, John Fitzgerald, commented on PB’s appointment, saying, “We in EirGrid look forward to working with Parsons Brinckerhoff in the coming years to meet the challenges of delivering this critical infrastructure.”
PB has been involved in the development phase of the Interconnector project, both as Technical Advisor and Civil Engineering Consultant, advising on issues relating to procurement, system integration and the UK civil aspects of the project. This new contract, signed on December 15, 2008 will see PB heavily involved throughout the implementation phase, managing the EPC contractor on behalf of EirGrid.
Tenders are currently being received from major EPC contractors to manufacture, install and commission HVDC converter stations, land and subsea cables, and the necessary power infrastructure to connect the 400 kV grid in Ireland, where EirGrid is the Transmission system Operator and ESB Networks is the Transmission Asset Owner, with the UK 400-kV grid operated by National Grid.
A 400-kV connection at the 400-kV Woodland substation outside of Dublin will be linked to an HVAC converter station. From there it will connect via cable to a landing point on the Irish coast. A subsea cable will be laid on the bed of the Irish Sea, to be landed on the North Wales coast, from where there will be a cable connection an HVDC converter station linked to a 400-kV connection at the Deeside substation in North Wales.
This is the first project undertaken by PB with its alliance partner Metoc plc, who will provide project management, technical support and installation representation for all marine activities. PB will be supported by two further specialist subconsultants, AndersenPES (HVDC technology) and PowerSure Technology (cable technology), who also worked with PB during the development stages of the Interconnector.
PB’s cable, overhead line and substation experts have extensive experience in projects of this nature, including roles on the Caprivi HVDC Link Interconnector between Namibia and Zambia, and the Basslink HVDC subsea interconnector between northern Tasmania and mainland Australia.
The scope of PB’s services comprises:
- Pre-EPC contract phase: review of EPC contract; preparation of project implementation plan; setting up systems for EPC contract commencement.
- Post-EPC contract award: design review activities, managing EPC contractor performance and payments; manufacturing inspections, witness testing and construction supervision for the converter station sites, land cable route and marine elements; commissioning supervision.
- Post-takeover support during the reliability run and warranty period.