UK firm to back Nexans on Ireland-France interconnector

UK-headquartered International Projects Group (IPG), part of the RSK Group, has been appointed to support Nexans Norway with work for the Celtic Interconnector that will link Ireland and France.

Courtesy of Celtic Interconnector

IPG will create a marine construction environmental management plan and provide construction environmental services for Nexans to facilitate the building of the 700 MW underwater cable.

The UK company said its work includes writing the environmental plan and carrying out on-site auditing to ensure that the minimum amount of material is spread into the water column, that noise and vibration are reduced, and that the risk of spreading non-native species is mitigated.

Along with this, RSK’s supporting services will include a fisheries liaison and coexistence plan, notices to mariners and other project communications.

The cross-border nature of the work will include support from RSK Ireland and RSK France, which means liaising with multiple departments responsible for operational permits for the construction work required in Irish, UK and French waters. 

“This 700-MW-capacity project, approximately enough to power 450,000 homes, will involve the world’s longest cross-linked polyethylene interconnector cable, and will be the first submarine link for direct electricity exchange between France and Ireland. The cable crosses from Ireland through Irish and UK waters to France and will need 500 km of undersea cable,” IPG’s Project Manager James Brocklehurst said.

“In order to protect this ecological area, a cable route has been planned to avoid environmentally sensitive areas, and the Nexans team will carry out detailed surveys to micro-site the cable route. Geophysical and geotechnical surveys will identify the best way to bury and protect the cable with the least disturbance to the environment.” 

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The Celtic Interconnector is being developed by the Irish transmission system operator (TSO) EirGrid and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE).

The 700 MW 320 kV VSC HVDC link will be approximately 575 kilometers long, of which the offshore element comprises approximately 500 kilometers.

Nexans and Siemens Energy were awarded contracts for the project at the end of 2022. Energization is planned for 2026.