October 2021: completion of the electrical interconnector’s construction works with electricity transfer power tests up to 1,000 MW.
ElecLink, the 1GW electrical interconnector via the Tunnel
The electricity interconnector between the United Kingdom and France contributes to strengthen the energy security for the two countries.
A strategic European project, vector for energy transition
- A new infrastructure adding value to the Group: 25-year exemption for the sale of capacity
- 1,000MW electricity capacity, equivalent to the consumption of 2 million households
- Added-value for the Channel Tunnel infrastructure
- A minimal impact on the environment.
Following the completion of the construction works and tests, ElecLink operates the electricity interconnector between the United Kingdom and France, which includes two direct current cables inside the Channel Tunnel. These two cables enable the electricity produced, on either side of the Channel, to circulate between the two countries as needed. ElecLink is a subsidiary wholly- owned by Getlink.
ElecLink: how does it work?
Labelled as «European Project of Common Interest” by the European Commission, ElecLink has already obtained support from both countries when launched in 2012.
Progress on construction works
- Construction completed of the two converter stations in Folkestone (UK) and in Peuplingues (France) being completed
- Preparatory works completed, including the installation of the monorail in the north tunnel
- Start of tests at the converter stations in October 2020
- Project’s approval reinstated by the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) on 10 December 2020, which enables the pulling operations of the 50 km cable in the Tunnel in 2021 and the completion of the interconnector construction
- Installation of the 50 km of cable in the North Tunnel between 23 January and 25 May 2021, within the scheduled timeframe
- October 2021: completion of the cable electrical testing campaign carried out over several weeks from end of August 2021 with the transfer of electricity between the French (RTE) and UK (National Grid) networks
- 17 February 2022: approval given to its safety management system from the IGC and the national safety authorities (EPSF, ORR and CTSA)
- March to May 2022 – Final technical testing phase of electricity transfer with RTE and National Grid and preparation of IT systems
- 20 May 2022: launch of commercial operations and first auctions
- 25 May: first commercial power flows via the ElecLink interconnector for its first customers.
The electricity interconnector enables to:
- Increase by 50% the bidirectional exchange capacity between the United Kingdom and France
- Benefit from a 25-year exemption from certain European regulations
- Optimise the allocation of installed generation capacity, including renewable energy sources, across both countries
- Secure affordable electricity supplies to consumers
- Play a key societal role by enhancing the integration of European power markets
- Represent a marked improvement in the profitability of the Group.
Proven technologies and world-class partners
Following a tender process, the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts were awarded to partners with an international reputation: Siemens has built the converter stations, Balfour Beatty/Prysmian are responsible for the manufacturing and installation of the DC cables in the Tunnel and the underground AC cable system in the UK.
Safety, a top priority
ElecLink uses reliable technology for its high-voltage direct current system, for its cables and converter stations. Several comprehensive safety studies were conducted for the conception, construction, operation and maintenance phases of the project.
Safety, both in terms of construction and operation of the cable in the Tunnel, is a top priority for the Group and is monitored regularly by the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority (CTSA). Technologies used meet the highest health, safety and environmental protection requirements, under the auspices of the IGC (Intergovernmental Commission).
A minimal impact on the environment
The ElecLink project contributes to support the balance of the energy mix of the UK and France and is distinguished by an exceptionally low impact on the environment. Using the existing infrastructure of the Fixed Link, ElecLink will avoid any interference with the marine ecosystem.
ElecLink installations in pictures
A station of 25 m high and over 4,700 m2.
with 4 transformers of 400 tonnes each per station.
will permit to manage the peaks and troughs in energy demand.
including the installation of 7,400 Hex beams and 8,250 steel brackets.
to pull the 50km of cable in the Channel Tunnel