Marine surveys begin at second Malta-Italy interconnector

InterConnect Malta (ICM) has commenced offshore works of the preliminary marine route survey (PMRS) for the second Malta-Italy interconnector.

Fugro is in charge of delivering the work using the 60-meter vessel Urbano Monti, which sailed out of the Grand Harbour on 25 August to start surveying the 600-meter-wide corridor of seabed.

The route extends circa 100 kilometers from Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta, to Marina di Ragusa, in Sicily, and has a maximum seabed depth of 160 meters.

Nearshore survey works started in Sicily last week using a smaller vessel, while nearshore surveying at Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq will commence shortly.

Depending on weather conditions, the survey will continue until mid-October, after which the contractor will proceed with data analysis and reporting.

According to InterConnect Malta, the PMRS will provide bathymetric, geophysical, and geotechnical information to plot the safest and most sustainable route of the project’s submarine cable and will provide the required data to design the cable burial methods and physical protection for the overall electrical scheme.

The company said it had designed the preliminary route to avoid sites of ecological importance as well as bunkering, aquaculture, touristic, fishing, and trawling areas, and other restricted zones, and also keep the cable as far away as technically possible from Interconnector 1, energized in 2015.

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The second Malta-Sicily cable link is part of the Maltese Government’s future energy strategy for meeting the 2030 climate and energy targets and the longer-term decarbonization objectives.

The interconnector will consist of a subsea and onshore cable link between the Maghtab terminal station, operated by Enemalta, and the Ragusa 220kV substation in Sicily, operated by Terna.

Similar to the first electrical link, it will have a nominal continuous rating capacity of 200MW and will be able to operate in a bi-directional mode, generally importing electricity from Sicily, but being technically able to transmit electricity from Malta to Sicily should excess electricity produced in Malta be available in the future.

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