New £40m power cable sets sail from Italy to France

JW onboard Stemat in Naples

JE's N1 Project Manager Jeremy Willis onboard the Stemat Spirit as the cable is loaded on to the carousel

Jersey Electricity’s latest £40million subsea power cable, Normandie 1 (N1) was this weekend successfully ‘loaded out’ from the Prysmian factory in Naples on to the cable laying vessel the Stemat Spirit. JE’s N1 Project Manager Jeremy Willis, who was in Naples, said: ‘The total length of manufactured cable is over 30km as we always retain spare lengths of subsea cables in case of future repair. Loading out from the factory to the carousel on the ship is a slow process because getting the first layer of cable neatly into the carousel is critical to ensuring the rest of the cable is loaded correctly without risk of damage. I’m pleased to report it all went smoothly.’

The 4,000-tonne Stemat is now making its way from Italy to Brest, France. It is expected to start installing the 100MW cable over the same 27km route as JE’s first decommissioned interconnector EDF1 from Surville to Archirodel next Saturday 6 August. Unlike Normandie 3 (N3) which took 11 weeks to install over a more southerly route in 2014, N1 is expected to take just a few days to install because it is being laid on the seabed rather than buried beneath it. 

A mobile exclusion zone around the Stemat and its support vessels will remain in force throughout the installation operation. No vessels are to pass within 1,000 metres of either side or ahead of the Semat, or within 500 metres of her stern without prior clearance from Ports of Jersey.

The install is being carried out by Dutch specialists VBMS with whom the Channel Islands Electricity Grid (CIEG) already has an innovative Power Cable Maintenance Agreement (PCMA) and an established relationship. The work includes two complex landfalls in difficult tidal conditions. In France, VBMS will perform a 300-metre long horizontal drill under the dunes followed by the installation of the cable through a rocky gulley, close to where the existing Normandie 2 cable is routed. At Archirondel, the landfall will be by means of float-out and direct pull-in into the onshore substation.

Ports of Jersey and JE have had to ask over 120 boat owners in St Catherine’s Bay to re-locate their vessels and drop their moorings to make way for the arrival of the Stemat. In return JE is creating 30 new deep-water moorings outside the working area which it is hoped can be made a permanent legacy for boat owners. The Company is also covering all relocation costs.

VBMS CEO Arno van Poppel said: ‘After the pre-emptive repair we carried out between Guernsey and Jersey in 2015 under our existing agreement with CIEG, we are looking forward to adding the next successful project to our track record for Jersey Electricity.’

JE CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘This is another crucial project for Jersey Electricity funded jointly with Guernsey Electricity under the oversight of the CIEG. It will further enhance the security of supplies of clean, low carbon electricity to our islands long into the future. I would personally like to thank the large team working on this project, the authorities in France and Jersey, and all boat owners affected by this project for their co-operation.’

Cut end of N1 in Naples