Channel Cable meets the highest international environmental standards in implementing the UK-France interconnector project and observes national and international environmental, maritime and legal requirements during construction, testing and operation of the interconnector. It conforms to internationally recognised operational practices and the rigorous standards of the company and its shareholders.

Channel Cable is conducting on an ongoing basis the most comprehensive environmental studies of the English Channel to date, investing heavily on detailed environmental studies and project planning to assess and subsequently minimise environmental impact. Channel Cables geophysical surveys are conducted, with thousands of objects on the seabed inspected.

We are usually asked about:

Why are we building Channel Cable?

The purpose of establishing a new interconnector between France and Great Britain is to increase the power exchange capacity between the two countries. This will help secure a more reliable supply of electricity in Great Britain, facilitate more efficient operation of existing power plants, increase renewable power generation in both countries, increase competition and promote value creation.

What are the main environmental issues?

The main potential impacts on nature are expected during the installation phase of the submarine cables. The cables touching down onto the seabed will cause only minor turbidity, or cloudiness, which will settle quickly. Construction activities such as ploughing, trenching or rock placement underwater have more of an impact, although also of a very temporary nature. Environmental monitoring will continue during the first few years of the operational phase of the cables.

Once the cables are in place, they are not expected to have much influence on nature – except for one positive impact. The cables burial protection measures where implemented might come to serve as an artificial reef, creating a new habitat for flora, fish, and other fauna.

Whats special about the technology used?

The technology which is being installed on both sides of the English Channel in new transformer / convertor stations to connect the cable to both countries is a Voltage Source Converter type. This technology will help secure a more stable grid in South East England. This technology is extremely advanced and will help reduce the possibility of unexpected blackouts in the region.

Will there be any impact on fisheries?

On the entire submarine route between France and Great Britain, the cable will be covered or jetted into the sea bed. This will make it possible to conduct fishing and trawling as normal above the cable. However, during the time from when the cable is installed until it has been fully protected, and during this period bottom trawling restrictions will apply approx. 1 month.

In soft seabed conditions the cable will be well covered, making it possible to fish using all types of fishing gear (including bottom trawling) after the cable has been protected.

The cables location will be clearly show on all marine navigation charts.

How do you install cables under the Channel?

Channel Cable uses a solid and compact cable, only six inches wide. A ship will lay the HVDC cable along the bottom of the Channel, navigating the best route for the cable along the sea bed. Low-impact water jet technology is used to place the cable in a temporary trench barely wider than the six-inch cable itself, and is immediately filled by natural forces.

In sensitive areas and busy shipping lanes, additional burial protection, in the form or large rock boulders will be placed over the cable. These will form artificial reefs which will benefit marine ecology.

Is this transmission project safe?

Yes. Channel Cable is an extremely safe project. The HVDC technology used for these cables is safe and reliable. The solid cables are well insulated, do not contain liquids or gels, and are made from non-flammable materials. The HVDC converter stations are solid state, which means that the conversion process is extremely stable. Unlike thermal generation stations, these converter stations contain no flammable fuels.

If damaged, the electrical protection systems within the HVDC converter stations will shut down the system within fractions of a second. In this unlikely event, current and voltage are reduced to zero in the cable

Does HVDC generate induced currents from EMF?

No. Direct current is constant (similar to the Earth’s magnetic field) and does not create the controversial fluctuating electromagnetic fields (“EMF”) associated with all AC transmission lines. Therefore, there are no induced currents from DC as there are in AC.

How long will this transmission cable be in service?

There are many examples of these projects that have been in operation for more than half a century. Transmitting energy through the cables does not wear them down. The life expectancy of Channel Cable is 50 years +.

Who will pay for the interconnector?

Channel Cable is being developed on a ‘merchant’ basis using private capital.

Only the users, power utilities, energy traders and generators who use the capacity will pay for the transmission service. The interconnector investment will not require any financial contribution from consumer tariffs.

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