New £70million power cable link is successfully switched on

Jersey’s new £70 million power link to France has successfully entered its commissioning phase and is now delivering power to the Channel Islands Electricity Grid (CIEG).

The ten-year project is now in its final stages. The past month has seen Jersey and French engineers working around the clock commissioning and testing the cable and its components in Jersey and Normandy, with the aim of bringing it into full service ahead of its planned 2015 schedule and before the onset of winter.

The commissioning process involved an initial test ‘energising’ the 32km subsea cable and 26km of land cables, from Périers in Normandy to South Hill at Mount Bingham, to 90,000Volts and leaving it for 24 hours. Complex regulating plant that has been installed at Périers and South Hill were then activated to synchronise and close the circuit on to the CIEG. The new circuit was slowly loaded and its power released to Jersey and Guernsey customers ‘in parallel
with’ the existing Normandie 2 French link.

In the coming days the existing Normandie 2 link will be temporarily taken out of service to allow for essential modifications by the French grid operator, RTE. This temporary work will allow further testing of the new Normandie 3 link at enhanced loads. It has taken ten years to reach this point and Project Executive, Jersey Electricity Energy Division Director David Padfield, said: ‘I would like to thank everyone involved for their help, guidance and support in reaching this stage. It has been a very successful team effort.’

Delighted with the progress, Jersey Electricity CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘This is an important milestone in our long history of serving this Island community. Normandie 3 will double our capacity to import cleaner, low carbon supplies of electricity from France’s nuclear and hydro plants, enhancing the security of supply for our customers and helping us maintain price stability going forward. It has been an immense project, which is within its £70m budget and ahead of its
2015 schedule. I am extremely proud of the team that made it possible, particularly in this our 90th anniversary year.

‘I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Jersey public – our customers – for their patience during the installation of the Jersey land cable, which has involved some complex traffic management along its route, and the fishermen and boat owners here and in France for their cooperation during the burial of the subsea cable.’ 

Normandie 3 is one of the largest private investment projects in Channel Islands infrastructure. The project is a joint venture with Guernsey Electricity who are Jersey Electricity’s partners in the CIEG.