First French power cable rises from seabed after 31 years

Edf1 distance

Work got underway this week to remove the first power supply cable link between France and Jersey known as EDF1. The cable, installed by Jersey Electricity in 1985, came to the end of its working life in 2012 and is now being recovered from the seabed in preparation for the installation of its replacement, known as Normandie 1 (N1) over the same route from St Remy des Landes, Surville,Normandy, to Archirondel, later this summer.

digger red tie

In accordance with planning permissions, EDF1 had already been made ready for removal which began at Archinrondel last weekend after JE signed a contract  worth around £1.5m earlier this month with Hughes Sub Surface Engineering of Merseyside for its recovery and disposal.

digger tie close

Beach works on both sides of the Channel are again being carried out by GPC of Cumbria who successfully landed the Normandie 3 (N3) cable at Gorey in 2014. The team worked in the windows of low tide to successfully excavate EDF1 from the beach to the low tide mark. They are now relocating to Surville to carry out the same process on the French beach before Hughes SSE deploy the multi-cat MC Ailsa to carry out the recovery in shallow waters in mid-March.

two men in skip

On completion of this section,  the 2,685-ton Atlantic Carrier will pass along the remainder of 27km route to hoist the 55MW cable on board where it will be cut into manageable sections and later taken to the UK to be responsibly disposed of with as much of the material as possible recycled. The whole operation is expected top be completed early in April subject to suitable weather for marine operations.

cut in skip long

N1 is currently being manufactured by world leading cable industry specialists Prysmian at their flagship plant in Naples, while Dutch specialists VBMS will be responsible for its installation. Unlike N3, which took almost three months to install over a more southerly route, the installation of N1 is likely to take just a few weeks as it will be laid on the seabed, like its predecessor, rather than ploughed in beneath it.

cut skip sparks

The new cable will connect to existing 90kV infrastructure in Jersey where no roadworks will be necessary. In France,  RTE will be replacing the land cable from St Remy to the beach at Surville. The substation at Surville Plage, which connected EDF1 to the French grid, will be dismantled and the land returned to nature once the new circuit has been commissioned. The project is another Channel Islands Electricity Grid (CIEG)  joint venture between JerseyElectricity and Guernsey Electricity.

cable end close

JE CEO ‘Chris Ambler said: ‘The recovery of EDF1 marks another important step in our £40m N1 project which will further enhance supply security and enable us to meet Jersey’s full electricity even during the winter peaks, with low carbon imports.’