14th May 2014
Zaun has helped secure the British electricity supply. Securing the electricity stations at the ends of the 500MW EirGrid East–West Interconnector cable.
The East-West Interconnector is a high-voltage direct current submarine and subsoil power cable. It connects the British and Irish electricity markets, developed by the Irish national grid operator EirGrid.
Ireland also has plans to expand its generation of wind power. The link will give the potential to export excess energy to the UK and European markets.
The cable has a total length of 162 miles, of which 116 miles is a submarine, and 47 miles is the subsoil. The link connects the Woodland HVDC static inverter plant at Rush North Beach, County Meath, and the Shotton static inverter plant at Barkby Beach in North Wales.
The interconnection uses ±200 kV HVDC Light cables with a capacity of 500 MW. It is the first HVDC Light transmission system project to use ±200 kV cables. The cables and converter stations were provided by ABB.
To secure British electricity supply, Zaun secured each of the two inverter plants with circa 600 metres of ArmaWeave fencing to 3 metres in height, buried in a concrete cell and also combined with a 4.6mtr high electric fence, which Zaun’s systems integrator Crime & Fire Defence Systems installed.
Project Manager Andy Byrom-Smith from security experts GC2 Associates, who integrated the CCTV and project managed the overall installation, said:
‘It was a truly collaborative team effort, which is highly appropriate for the interconnecting nature of the project.’
ArmaWeave achieves the highest rated standards for fencing products defending against the forcible attack and can be combined with other intruder systems, electronics, and access control to create the optimum integrated fencing solution. Its unique properties add substantial resistance to cutting attacks with hand, powered and non-contact tools. The tight mesh pattern also provides no climbing aids, again limiting the potential for intrusion.
The mesh pattern allows the fence to be raked, limiting the need for stepping panels across undulations in ground levels. The mesh still conforms to the high standard but reduces installation costs significantly compared with standard welded mesh systems.
The East-West Interconnector project is financed by a €300 million loan from the European Investment Bank, capital investments from commercial banks, EirGrid equity, and a €110 million grant from the European Commission.
It also brings Britain’s interconnector capacity to 4GW with the 2GW IFA interconnector to France, 1GW BritNed interconnector to Holland and 500MW Moyle interconnector to Northern Ireland. A further interconnector to Belgium is proposed under project NEMO.
Interconnectors also play a crucial role in the EU’s strategy to achieve a competitive and integrated European energy market to increase energy security and apply downward pressure to wholesale electricity prices.
They also support investment in renewables and achieve climate change targets by allowing intermittent and fluctuating supply and demand, matched across a wider network.
UK Energy Minister Ed Davey has said to secure the British electricity supply is the only way Britain can benefit from US-style low energy prices by creating a totally integrated power market across Europe.