The Energy Blog Normandie 1 installation
An illustration of hills, trees, sand and the sun.

N1 successful switch on brings range of benefits

Mark Wille switch on

After detailed testing and extensive preparatory works in France and Jersey, the 100MW Normandie 1cable was energised for 24 hours on 30 November then, at 3.17pm on Thursday 1 December, JE’s Senior Projects Engineer Mark Wille (above) finally closed the 90kV circuit breaker at Archirondel Termination Station to place N1 ‘on load’ after its 24 hour ‘soak test’ and release power into Jersey’s grid. The Company has been closely monitoring the new circuit since.

JE CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘The successful completion of N1 is another major milestone for Jersey Electricity and the Island as a whole. When combined with our existing cables, Normandie 2, installed in 2000, and Normandie 3, installed in 2014, N1 gives us access to 190MW of importation capacity. This is in excess of our record peak demand of 161MW and gives us a greater ‘supply margin’ than larger countries that typically aim for around 10 per cent. This will allow us to import our full power requirement at any time of the year and provides enhanced flexibility and resilience in electricity supply which is further improved by the three submarine cables being across two diverse routes that connect into different parts of the French network.

‘Our high levels of security of supply coupled with our 10-year supply purchasing agreement with EDF, has been an important factor in enabling us to keep costs low and prices stable since April 2014 and the flexibility of an additional cable has allowed us to freeze prices through 2017 to at least 2018. Importantly, this added importation capacity gives us the ability to virtually de-carbonise Jersey’s electricity supply.’ 



The Normandie 1 cable project has entered another important stage with the safe arrival in France of the two huge Voltage Regulators that will control the voltage in the power grid to Jersey. Built by ABB in Vassa, Finland, the 50-ton regulators were transported by sea to Antwerp, Belgium, and then by road all the way to Saint Remy des Landes, Normandy. At a cost of £750,000 each, the regulators’ safe and timely arrival in France is crucial to the project.

Jersey Electricity engineers have been working alongside RTE and ABB in France and N1 Project Executive and Chief Engineer John Duquemin said : ‘The arrival of these Regulators are on the critical path for the delivery of the N1 project. Now they are safely on site we need to make all the connections and carry out commissioning tests before the circuits from St Remy can be energised later this year.’

Regs 1regs 5regs3regs 7regs 8regs 9




Work continues apace on both sides of The Channel securing Normandie 1 (N1). Here in Jersey, specialist engineers from Germany and Belgium have been connecting the 100MW cable to existing switch gear inside Archirondel substation, while out on the beach a six-strong team from Norwegian company Sea Trench, a sub-contractor of Dutch installers VBMS, have been using their special sea trencher that operates underwater to bury 1km of cable beneath the seabed. A similar operation has continued in France where 2km of cable is being buried on the Spring Tides in Surville.

cable wrapped

Jersey Electricity Chief Engineer John Duquemin says: ‘The work is going well. The Sea Trench is being supported by a vessel called Hermes lV that people may have seen in the bay. Higher up, towards the sea wall, the rocky trench sloping up to the station in which the cable was pulled  has to be filled and the sea wall itself reinstated. Then much work remains to be done connecting N1 to the French Grid and our network here in Jersey.’

3 core split

switch gear

JW and man

hand connections

connections close

close kit

life is on man



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The Jersey end of the 27km Normandie 1 subsea power cable was finally pulled up into Jersey Electricity’s Archirondel Termination Station on Monday afternoon’s low tide after beach operations covering three days and five tides.

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The Dutch VBMS installation team and local sub-contractors Barette Plant Hire, monitored by JE Engineers, worked through the night on Saturday and Sunday to inch the 650 metres of beached cable, laid in a large loop around two quadrants, up the beach into a straight line for its final approach to the substation. 

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With around 60 metres to spare after its journey from Surville, Normandy, the cable was cut and positioned ready for connection to the existing substation switch gear by specialist jointers from manufacturers Prysmian. 

 Work to bury the cable on the beach started today and is expected to take two days to complete Much complex work remains to be done before the cable is fully connected to the French grid and Jersey’s network ready for commissioning. It is expected in service early in 2017.

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arch 2

The Stemat Spirit safely offloaded 1,875 spare metres of the Normandie 1 (N1) cable for storage in Dordrecht, Rotterdam, yesterday, while the Dutch VMBS installation team continued work here in Jersey preparing the 27km, 100MW cable for the final ‘pull in’ to Jersey Electricity’s Archirondel Termination Station.

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The work is expected to take place on the low tides tonight and tomorrow afternoon with the aid of a quadrant which will be inched up the beach supporting the cable until it can be released and winched into the station.

Earlier, divers had re-floated the 65 metres of cable that had been laid across St Catherine’s Bay on Monday and re-positioned it in line with the approach to the shoreline.

Rhonda seal pup

The female seal pup found in seaweed in the bay by Jersey Electricity watchman Tom Glennie and a member of VBMS sub-contractors Barette Plant Hire, Stephen Le Brun, is now being treated at an RSPCA rehabilitation centre in Taunton, Somerset, thanks to a rescue effort by British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the JSPCA, New Era Vetinary Hospital and Blue Islands. The pup has been named Rhonda by those who cared for her in Jersey.


Stem approach 1

The Normandie 1 power cable finally landed in St Catherine’s Bay yesterday after the Dutch VBMS crew of the 90-metre-long, 4,000-tonne Stemat Spirit cable-laying vessel delicately negotiated their way around the old breakwater at Archirondel Tower.

cabble end

The final few metres of the 27km cable slipped of the Stemat to a gentle ripple of applause from deck hands and onshore observers that included Environment Minister Steve Luce and his Assistant Minister Steve Pallett and other States department officials.

feeder man

The cable, though lying on the bed of the bay, is clearly marked by 126 buoys and will be re-floated later in the week for the beach landing operation and ‘pull in’ to Jersey Electricity’s Archirondel Termination Station during low tides on Sunday and Monday afternoon.

deckhands buoys

RTE in France have completed the beach works in Surville and are now jointing the subsea section of N1 to a 2km new landline that runs to St Remy des Landes Substation where it will connect to the French grid.

deckhands close

During a tour of the Stemat after the cable landing, Sean Ventress, VBMS Deputy Offshore Construction Manager told Jersey Electricity CEO Chris Ambler that Jersey was ‘the most picturesque place he had every dropped a cable’.

He also remarked on how good the custom-built N1 cable must be having taken 45 minutes to cut in the carousel compared with the usual 10 minutes of previous cables he had cut for offload. This is due to the double armoury of stainless steel wires that protect the power cores and embedded fibre optics cables.

cut cable in carousel

After making ready, the Stemat departed overnight for Rotterdam with the remaining 3km of spare cable that will be offloaded and taken into the VBMS storage facility storage in Dordrecht where other spare lengths of the Channel Islands Electricity Grid subsea cables are kept in case of repair.



Stemart night


Bay map

The cable laying vessel Stemat Spirit has made exceptional progress over the last 36 hours with the result that the operation to offload the 100MW Normandie 1 (N1) power cable at Archirondel has been accelerated by 24 hours. It will now take place on tomorrow’s (Monday’s) incoming tide between 3pm and 5pm.

The 4,000-tonne vessel has been clearly visible off the east coast for over 24 hours has she almost completes the 27km journey from Surville, Normandy, to Archirondel where N1 will connect to Jersey Electricity’s primary substation there.

Cropped end

The Stemat will anchor 1.5km off the shore this afternoon when the cable will cut and sealed in readiness for its offload by the Dutch installation contractors VBMS. The crew will hand over the cable to the beach team who will later pull it into the substation.

The Stemat will wait for tomorrow’s incoming tide before making her final approach into St Catherine’s’ Bay starting at around 2pm. All mariners are asked to please keep clear. A mobile exclusion zone around the Stemat and support vessels remains in force. No vessels are to pass within 1,000 metres of either side or ahead of her, or within 500 metres of her stern without prior clearance from Ports of Jersey.

Once the offload has been completed, the Stemat will move out to deeper water where she will make ready for departure early on Tuesday morning. Next stop is Rotterdam to off-load around 3km of spare cable which Jersey Electricity keeps in stores with VBMS in case of future repair.

Jersey Electricity would once again like to take the opportunity to thank the many boat owners of St Catherine’s who have kindly relocated their vessels to enable this landing operation and also all mariners for the co-operation during the installation. 




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The 4,000-tonne power cable laying vessel the Stemat Spirit is now fast approaching Jersey waters and all mariners are advised to keep clear. A mobile exclusion zone around the Stemat and its support vessels is force. No vessels are to pass within 1,000 metres of either side or ahead of her, or within 500 metres of her stern without prior clearance from Ports of Jersey.

The operation to install a third 100MW cable between France and Jersey, Normandie 1 (N1) began in earnest on Wednesday. After a complex but text book beach landing of the French end of the cable by Jersey Electricity specialist Dutch contractors VBMS on the beach at Surville, the Stemat and her 50-strong eased away from the Normandy coast.

Main route map

By late Friday afternoon they were able to deploy the vessel’s full power and dynamic positioning system which carefully manages the thrusters to ensure the precise 27km route for the cable is adhered to. Since then the Stemat has been laying the cable at a rate of 10 metres a minute. This is much faster than the Normandie 3 cable that Jersey Electricity installed in 2014 because N1 is being laid on the seabed rather than buried beneath it.

Once the Stemat is approximately 1.5km off the east coast of Jersey, late Sunday evening or early Monday morning, the crew will wait for a suitable tide from which to offload the cable here ready for connection to the primary substation at Archirondel. All being well, this is currently expected to be on the rising tide of Tuesday afternoon and will likely take around two hours.

Jersey Electricity Senior Projects Engineer and N1 Project Manager Jeremy Willis is aboard the Stemat and last night said: ‘The operation is so far going to plan. The VBMS team both on board and on the beach in France have performed exceptionally so it’s fingers crossed for a continued safe crossing and successful landing at Archironel.’



Over 3km of the new 27km Normandie 1 (N1) subsea power cable from France to Archirondel have been laid. The cable laying vessel, the Stemat Spirit, recommenced operations at midnight last night after a pause to change its anchor pattern.

Works to bury the cable on the beach at Surville are well underway and the ‘mid support pontoon’ that aided the operation to offload the cable from the vessel to the beach will be re-floated and removed tomorrow. N1 has already been pulled through to the RTE joint bay where it will be connected to the 2km land cable that runs to St Remy and will eventually be connected to the French grid.

The Stemat is expected to complete operations on anchors later today and will continue its journey to Jersey under its own power and dynamic positioning system that manages its thrusters. Photographer Andy Le Gresley captured these stunning aerial shots yesterday



VBMS French start

The first 770 metres of Jersey’s 27km Normandie 1 new subsea power cable were successfully offloaded from the cable laying vessel the Stemat Spirit on to the beach at Surville, Normandy last night in a two-hour tidal window between 9.15pm and 11.20pm.

The cable was pulled over the ‘mid support pontoon’ before operations were suspended until this morning’s low tide.

VBMS French start 2

By lunchtime today the Dutch VBMS beach team had successfully pulled the cable up the beach, through the dune and into the RTE joint bay where it will be jointed to the new Frenchside landline.

Jersey Electricity’s Senior Projects Engineer and N1 Project Manager is onboard the 4,000-tonne Stemat with a 50-strong crew. After last night’s initial operations Jeremy said: ‘The operation is going to plan. Both VBMS teams on board the Stemat and the beach crew are working well. We expect we will need two more tide cycles before the Stemat can move away from the Surville beach and begin its journey to Archirondel.’

VBMS French start 3




The operation to lay Jersey’s latest subsea power cable from France began in earnest today off the coast of Surville, Normandy, when the 4,000 cable-laying vessel the Stemat Spirit approached the beach and set up on anchors before the turning tide meant suspension of operations until this evening when work to pull the cable ashore will be handed over to the beach team to start around 9pm and continue throughout the night.

Once the offload is completed the Stemat, her 50-strong crew and support vessels will begin the 27km journey to Archirondel where the new 100MW cable will connect to existing network infrastructure.

The installation, by Dutch specialist VBMS, is over the same route as Jersey Electricity’s first interconnector to France, EDF1, installed in 1984 and recovered from the seabed in April in preparation for N1.

A mobile exclusion zone around the Stemat Spirit 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 Stemat, or within 500 metres of her stern without prior clearance from Ports of Jersey.

Once complete N1 will be the third active power link between the Channel Islands and France following the installation of Normandie 2 in 2000 over an adjacent route and more recently Normandie 3, installed in 2014, over a more southerly route from Pirou Plage to Gorey. Unlike N3, however, which took several weeks to install, N1 is expected to take just a few days because it is being laid on the seabed rather than buried beneath it.

The Stemat is expected to arrive off the east coast of Jersey at the weekend. Ports of Jersey and JE asked over 120 boat owners in St Catherine’s Bay to re-locate their vessels and drop their moorings to make way for the Stemat’s arrival. 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 £40million N1 project is funded jointly with Guernsey Electricity under the oversight of the Channel Island Electricity Grid.