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UK’s National Grid energises 1GW IFA2 HVDC project [free access]

October 19, 2020

The UK power transmission system operator (TSO) National Grid has launched the 1,000 MW Interconnexion France-Angleterre (IFA2) high voltage direct current (HVDC) link project, aimed to link the UK and France.


Despite the pandemic, IFA2 has remained on time and on budget. The project has entered its energisation phase which allows electricity power to run through the cable ready for testing before going live.  The ±320 kV HVDC project is the second interconnector between England and France. and  has been developed by IFA2 SAS—a joint venture (JV) between National Grid IFA2 Limited [a part of British TSO National Grid] and its counterpart Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE). It is the result of a shared GBP700 million investment, with partners RTE.


The project allows transfer of up to 1 GW of power between the two countries. It runs from the 400 kV Tourbe substation in Lower Normandy, France to a 400 kV substation at Chilling Lane in Hampshire, England. The power line is 235 km-long, including 205 km of undersea cable. According to National Grid, the project is expected to deliver 1.2 per cent of Britain's electricity needs, enough to power up to 1 million homes with zero carbon energy.


In May 2017, RTE and National Grid awarded the Italian cable maker, Prysmian, the contract to design, manufacture and install the submarine and land power cable to connect Tourbe in France to Chilling in Hampshire. Prysmian will also supply a high voltage alternating current (HVAC) link that will connect the UK converter station to a local substation in Chilling.


The project began construction in 2018 and is included in the European Union’s (EU) projects of common interest (PCI) list.