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Offshore and Onshore Cables

There will be two HVDC cables plus a fibre optic cable for system communication processes. High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables allow for efficient transportation of electricity over large distances.

High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables
[Image: 250kV HVDC cable-   courtesy of Prysmian]

250kV HVDC cable  
courtesy of Prysmian]

Offshore Cables

Approximately 160km of the Greenlink cable route will be laid offshore. The final proposed routes have been selected following a detailed assessment of the marine environment and technical challenges.

The cables will predominantly be buried in the seabed. However, where the geology or marine environment does not lend itself to this, a cable may be laid on the seabed with protection added. Protection could be in the form of concrete mattress or rock dumping on top of the cable. 

Onshore Cables


One of the benefits of HVDC cables is the relatively small footprint required to install them underground onshore. They can be buried within the local road networks or within agricultural land, as appropriate.

The onshore cables will be in a single trench with a typical depth of cover of 850mm. These will be installed in plastic ducts to simplify the construction process. It is usual for the two ducts to be positioned close together (approximately 300mm). A protective cover and warning tape will also be buried along with marker posts at regular intervals at ground level. This arrangement is shown in Figure 1. 

Figure 1 Indicative underground cable ar

It is usual to increase the depth of cover in agricultural land to around 1050mm (from 850mm). The width of the trench may also vary with depth of cover (the deeper the cables are buried the wider the trench may become). 

A specific design is engineered for utility crossings, crossing watercourses or other areas where the ordinary depth of cover cannot be achieved. 

Installation of Cables at Landfalls

We will use a Horizontal Directional Drill to install the cables at both Baginbun Beach (Ireland) and Freshwater West (Wales). Using this method of installation will ensure that cables can be installed without any impact on the beaches at both locations and will avoid any impact on the dune system at Freshwater West. The cable will emerge below the low water mark so no work will take place on either beach. While the construction programme for the full project is anticipated to take around two and a half years, construction work around each landfall would last for approximately 3 months and be scheduled to avoid the most popular periods of use. Below is an illustration of how an HDD might work.

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