La Collette admirably welcomed many high-profile visitors this week for the ‘Official Switch On’ of Normandie 3 on 27 January. Among over 40 guests in the Control Room for the ceremony was Chief Minister Ian Gorst and the Paris and Normandy Region Director General of French network operators Réseau Transport d’Électricité (RTE) Jean-Louis Muscagorry. Senator Gorst was joined by Senators Alan Maclean and Paul Routier, Deputy Steve Luce and Constables Stephen Pallet and Michel Le Troquer. Monsieur Muscagorry was accompanied by seven members of the RTE N3 Project Team which played such an important role in the success of the N3 project. Also present was the French Consul and representatives from our N3 contract partners including Prysmiam, ABB, and Schneider. ABB’s Marcello Cucinotto had travelled from Vasser in Finland, via Helsinki and Manchester for the occasion, though he said he was glad to leave temperatures of minus 20 and permanent darkness.
Senator Gorst praised Jersey Electricity’s foresight in connecting Jersey to the French network via subsea power cables, saying: ‘Jersey has shown great foresight over the years, meeting the ever-increasing demand for electricity, while helping to reduce Jersey’s carbon emissions despite a significant increase in our use of electricity. Though 62% owned by the States, as a plc with minority shareholders, JE’s Board can make investment decisions that focus on the long-term needs of their customers. This £70m Normandie 3 Project is a prime example. On behalf of the States of Jersey, I would like to congratulate all involved in this historic project.’
Monsieur Muscagorry had the honour of ‘pressing the button’ on N3 as Operations Controller Andy Marshman and Ruben Santos turned off the diesel generators. While N3 connects our two electricity networks, Monsieur Muscagorry spoke of the excellent consultation, physical accomplishment but above all he said a ‘network of intelligence was needed to complete such a project’.
’The ‘Switch on’ was a symbolic gesture as N3 has been in service since last September. CEO Chris Ambler echoed Monsieur’s Muscagorry’s sentiments, saying: ‘ This project would not have been possible without the teamwork and co-operation between France and the Channels Islands, including contractors, suppliers, partners, Jersey and French public authorities, as well as staff.
‘The success of the project owes much to the enormous efforts of French network operators RTE and the very special working relationship our respective engineers have had since 1984 when Jersey Electricity’s first link to France, EDF1, was installed.
‘Now, as then, is an historic moment for Jersey Electricity. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved especially RTE and our many contract partners who made this possible, including Prysmian Powerlink, Prysmian UK, Schneider Electric, ABB, GPC Cumbria and Jayen, plus the many States departments, in particular TTS and the Ports of Jersey, and the Jersey Fishermen’s Association.’
After the ceremony Mark Vivian escorted a party of engineers around South Hill Switching Station before everyone returned to the Radisson for a buffet lunch in the Elizabeth Room room which had been specially themed on N3 for the occasion. The previous evening Chris Ambler hosted a special Team Dinner in the hotel’s Le Hocq Suite at which our guests and contract partners were presented with commemorative N3 pens.
The various elements of the occasion meant Terry Perrier and Tom Garnham had to move two weighty display sections of the N3 subsea cable and land cable five times: from La Collette to the Le Hocq suite for Monday’s dinner, from there to the Rocco Foyer early Tuesday morning, from the foyer to the Elizabeth Room for lunch and then back to La Collette! Also playing their part in the success of the proceedings were Tony Bougeard and Paul Harris, who greeted the dignitaries, took coats and guided them up the stairs, Antoinette, who signed them all in and guided them through reception, Paul Cater, Alan Le Flock and Tomasz Baran, who guided them to the Control Room, and Philippe Frémouillat who bravely offered to help with any French translation throughout the proceedings both days.
All the photographs from both the dinner and the day event are available to view on Powernet>Pictures>Normandie 3 Launch Dinner and Normandie 3 Official Switch On