The “ElecLink” high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) link will enhance power supply reliability in both countries and promote the integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid.
“We are extremely pleased to drive the development of a high-performance, European interconnected power system. With this new interconnection we support our customer ElecLink to implement efficient market trading arrangements and the expanded integration of renewable energy sources,” said Ralf Christian, CEO of the Siemens Energy Management Division.
Siemens will supply the two HVDC converter stations at both sides of the DC power line, which will be routed as a DC cable through the Channel Tunnel. This cable is to be supplied by Prysmian and installed by Balfour Beatty. The volume of Siemens‘ share of the order is around EUR 315 million. The link is scheduled to take up commercial operation early 2020.
The foundation stone of the future converter station was laid on February 23, 2017, by Jesse Norman, Minister for Industry and Energy signaling the start of the construction work which, when complete, will supply enough electricity to power more than 1.65 million typical households per year.
“Today marks the culmination of years of hard work to make ElecLink a reality,” said Steven Moore, Chief Executive Officer of ElecLink. “The construction phase of the project will bring together the world’s best engineers and technologies to pursue the construction without interruption of the tunnel’s traffic, and when complete, it will play a key role by helping to meet the governments’ energy ‘trilemma.’”
The HVDC link between France and Great Britain has been designated as one of the European Commission’s projects of common interest to help create an integrated European Union energy market. As the cable goes through the Channel Tunnel there will be no subsea lay or burial in the Channel.
The scope of the order covers a 1000-MW converter system for a DC voltage of ±320 kilovolt (kV). The two converter stations, one at Peuplingues in France, the other in Folkestone in the UK, will be linked by a 51 kilometer-long DC power cable. The scope of supply includes the overall system design and the supply, installation and commissioning of all components. The HVDC power modules and transformers will be manufactured at two Siemens factories in Nuremberg, Germany.
Both converter stations will be using HVDC Plus voltage-sourced converters in a modular multi-level converter arrangement (VSC-MMC) that convert AC to DC and DC back to AC on the other side of the link.
In contrast to line-commutated converter technology, the HVDC Plus system works with power transistors that can also be switched off (IGBT), enabling the commutation processes in the power converter to run independently of the grid voltage.
The fast control and protective intervention capabilities of the power converters provides a high level of stability in the transmission system, which primarily serves to reduce grid faults and disturbances in the three-phase AC network. This significantly increases supply reliability for utility companies and power customers.