First French power cable recovery complete


Man cutting cable

The recovery of EDF1, Jersey’s first supply cable link to France, commissioned in 1985, was complete at the weekend, when the Atlantic Carrier lifted the remaining few kilometres of the decommissioned cable from the seabed off the French coast.

The 2,685-tonne, Norwegian-built vessel has now returned to her home port on the south coast of England where the third and final load of scrap cable will be offloaded for disposal and recycling.

Scap on Carrier march

The next phase of the £40m project to replace the 55MW EDF1 with the 100MW Normandie 1 (N1) cable starts this week when two inshore areas, here and France, will be surveyed by the Seabeam. Though the 27km route of the cable was surveyed by the Askholmen last summer, these two areas could only be surveyed once EDF1 had been removed.

Seabeam survey vessel

Seabeam survey vessel. Picture courtesy of MMT

Meanwhile, in Naples, Italy, the three ‘power cores’ of the new cable have been manufactured and are currently being tested by Prysmian Powerlink, the world leading cable specialist who also manufactured the Normandie 3 cable and its adjoining land cables, installed in 2014

Once testing is completed, a process called ‘laying up’ takes place whereby the three cores are bundled together with fibre optic cables and the amours added around them. The completed cable will then be tested in mid-July. If all goes well, the cable laying vessel the Stemat Spirit will collect N1 ready for the installation itself to take place by Dutch specialists VBMS, in the summer. 

Unlike N3, which took almost three months to install over a more southerly route, the installation of N1 is likely to take several weeks as it will be laid on the seabed, like its predecessor, rather than ploughed in beneath it. No roadworks will be necessary in Jersey, though RTE are replacing the land cable from St Remy to the beach at Surville.

N1 is a joint investment in conjunction with Guernsey Electricity, overseen by the Channel Islands Electricity Grid (CIEG).