J-Power Systems Corporation (JPS), a subsidiary of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., has been awarded a contract, for a subsea high-voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnector cable system between UK and Belgium. The contract was awarded by NEMO Link Limited, a joint venture between National Grid Interconnector Holdings Limited, a subsidiary company of the UK’s National Grid Plc, and the Belgian Elia group. The cable system consists of a 130-km subsea cable route and an 11.5-km land cable route. The cable will be connected to HVDC converter stations in both Kent and Zeebrugge. The overall project value of NEMO LINK will be approximately €500 million.
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JPS’s responsibility under the contract will be a full EPC including design, manufacturing and installation of a state-of-the-art HVDC XLPE insulated cable system – the first time it will have been used operationally as an HVDC system at DC 400 kV. XLPE is an abbreviation of cross-linked polyethylene. The needs for HVDC XLPE cable are increasing especially in Europe & North America where growing number of offshore wind farms and HVDC interconnection projects are under development. It has significant technical advantages, compared to conventional cable technology as outlined below.
- Higher allowable operating temperature: It will allow NEMO LINK cable to have extra safety margin during cable operation, especially in cases where an unforeseeable situation creates excess current flows in the cable system or excess cable burial depth occurs due to sand wave mobility on the seabed, etc.
- Environmentally friendly feature: XLPE cable does not require any oil as insulation material whereas conventional cable insulation does.
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