Balfour Beatty JV wins £185m contract to install interconnector through Channel Tunnel

A joint venture between Balfour Beatty and the Prysmian Group has secured an £185 million contract to install a 65km power cable through the Channel Tunnel.

Designed to enhance both the UK and France’s energy capacity and security, the installation of the world's first ElecLink High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector will provide enough energy to power more than 1.65 million households per year and help both countries meet their energy needs and potentially lead to cheaper fuel costs.

The project, which will provide employment for up to 300 people, 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 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.

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.”

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