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Balfour team wins £185m England-France electricity cable deal

A Balfour Beatty team has won a €219m (£185m) deal to install an electricity cable between England and France.

The contractor, in partnership with cable specialist Prysmian Group, was appointed by Groupe Eurotunnel subsidiary ElecLink to lay the 65 km cable through the Channel Tunnel.

The 1 GW-capacity ElecLink interconnector will boost energy capacity in both the UK and France.

It could be an early step towards development of a European super grid aimed at lowering prices by allowing energy generation and distribution costs to be shared across the continent.

The installation of the Channel Tunnel’s HVDC interconnector will involve laying two cables through the north tunnel and connecting them to converter stations in northern France and Kent. 

Balfour Beatty will use offsite jointing facilities in Calais and Folkestone to assemble 2.5 km sections of cable, and plans to use software to model the build in a virtual environment.

Balfour Beatty managing director for power transmission and distribution Ian Currie said: “We have been trusted with the first ever installation of a high-voltage direct current interconnector in a live rail tunnel environment.

“We will draw on our extensive experience of cable tunnel engineering projects, including the London Power Tunnels electricity superhighway, to deliver the project successfully.”

Balfour’s work on the contract is estimated to be worth €140m (£118m).

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