The 130km, 1,000MW Nemo Link interconnector between the UK and Belgium has begun commercial operation.
The £600M cable connects two HVDC stations – one in Herdersbrug near Bruges, Belgium and the other in Richborough, UK.
The interconnector is operated by a joint venture between National Grid Interconnectors and Belgian energy provider Elia. Its aim is to improve energy security for both countries, should either face an energy shortage.
Electricity will flow in either direction at different times, depending on the supply and demand of each country.
Murphy won the contract to develop the Nemo Link converter station and compound buildings in Kent in 2016.
More than 750,000 man hours were spent building the new 20km overhead line, substations and associated works for the Richborough Connection. £200M was invested in two new high-voltage substations and 60 new pylons between Richborough and Canterbury. The pylons carry the 260km of cables needed to join Nemo Link to National Grid’s transmission network.
More than 1,200 potentially explosive devices were discovered during the marine works, and the project called in Navy dive teams to destroy the hazards.
National Grid chief executive officer John Pettigrew said interconnectors like Nemo were the “perfect tool” for accessing renewable energy.
“We’re delighted that Nemo Link and the Richborough Connection are now both fully operational They will play a key role in delivering cleaner energy to UK consumers, while also making supplies more secure and competitive,” said Pettigrew.
“Interconnectors like Nemo Link are the perfect tool to move renewable energy from where it is produced to where it is needed most. By connecting the UK and Belgian electricity markets, we will also ensure customers have access to different sources of generation and lower-priced electricity. This will mean that customers pay less for their energy.
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