SRC selected for international power project

Giulio VerneLEADING international health-and-safety specialists Steel River Consultants (SRC) have been selected to provide key technical support for a project to construct an electricity link between the UK and Norway.

The company will act as hazard identification (HAZID) facilitator and provide CDM support and health and safety advisory services to cable supplier Prysmian.

The North Sea Link (NSL) project, a project owned 50 per cent each by National Grid and Statnett, will be the first direct electricity connection between the UK and Norway.

At more than 720 kilometres cable route (bi-pole i.e. two parallel cables), it will be the world’s longest interconnector running from Blyth, in Northumberland, to Kvilldal, in Rogaland, on the Norwegian side.

Prysmian has been awarded a contract to design, fabricate and install 2 x 470km of sub-sea cables and 2 x 2km of onshore cables which will be manufactured at the group’s factory in Naples and installed using its cable laying vessel the Giulio Verne.

The interconnector will be installed by the end of 2021 and will allow Britain to import and export up to 1,400MW of electricity – enough to meet the annual power needs of almost a million homes.
Chris Lawson, SRC’s Regional Manager said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Prysmian and take great pride in working on such an exciting and important energy project.”

In recent years, closures of ageing coal and oil-fired power stations have reduced Britain’s generating capacity and left the country more reliant on power from abroad.

Mr Lawson explained: “The energy needs of the UK and Norway are remarkably aligned.

“Norway’s electricity is produced predominantly by hydro power plants which are very flexible, but their capacity is subject to the water levels in reservoirs.

“The North Sea Link will allow the UK to export electricity when renewable sources of generation is high but demand is low, such as on an evening or at weekends when high industrial users are not productive, helping to conserve the water levels in Norwegian reservoirs, and when demand is high here, we will be able to draw on Norwegian hydro power.”

By sharing renewable energy both countries will be better able to meet their international climate change obligations.

Mr Lawson has extensive prior experience of large-scale interconnector projects. He also worked on the BritNed interconnector, which runs from the Isle of Grain, in Kent, to Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam.

The BritNed cable entered service in 2011, and a cable to France is also capable of supplying up to 3.8 per cent of the UK’s peak demand. National Grid is also examining a plan to run cables under the North Sea from Bicker Fen, in Lincolnshire, to Revsing, in Denmark and a second link to France.

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