Mott MacDonald has been appointed by ElecLink to provide engineering support for the installation of an electricity interconnector in the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France. The appointment adds to the consultancy’s working relationship with ElecLink, having previously provided technical, commercial and senior construction management advice to develop and manage technical, planning and environmental challenges for the interconnector.
The 1GW, 51km, high voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnector will meet the growing need for energy in the UK and support the balance of the energy mix of both the UK and France. The exchange of electricity between the two countries will allow management of peaks and troughs in demand and of variations in power production as energy surplus from the UK could be exported to continental Europe when necessary. It will also, by encouraging the development of renewables in both countries, enable a projected saving of 6.1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions up to 2030.
During construction, there will be a negligible impact on the environment and local wildlife due to on-site screening in the design stage. Additionally, by optimising the existing structure of the Channel Tunnel, any interference with marine life that would occur during the installation of a submarine cable is removed.
Mott MacDonald will provide engineering support to ElecLink, ranging from civil to specialised HVDC electrical during the design and construction of the interconnector. The consultancy has provided technical support to ElecLink since the project’s inception in 2012, creating technical specifications for the interconnector and associated connections to the UK and French national grids. Mott MacDonald also assisted during the two tender processes for the main engineering, procurement and construction contractors, one for the technically complex HVDC conversion system and one for the unique cable installation.
Stuart Wilson, Mott MacDonald’s project manager, said: “This commission builds on our long history of helping clients deliver first-of-a-kind engineering projects in challenging infrastructure environments. On this scheme, our power engineers worked with rail safety, risk management and specialist environmental colleagues to provide a single integrated source of engineering expertise to create a viable and safe system running through the rail tunnel.”
“Mott MacDonald has a large, growing HVDC function containing staff with vast experience in the computer modelling, design, installation and commissioning of power electronic HVDC systems. Our HVDC experts, as well as colleagues from other disciplines, have supported the ElecLink team as it grew in size with engineering, geotechnical and risk management staff,” added David Cross, Mott MacDonald’s practice leader for HVDC.
The Channel Tunnel interconnector is due to be commissioned by the end of 2019.