Prysmian Group has been awarded a record contract worth approximately 800 million Euro, the highest value ever awarded in the cable business, for the development of Western HVDC Link, a new submarine High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector between Scotland and England. The whole turnkey project will be executed by a consortium of Prysmian and Siemens who will be responsible for the HVDC converter stations. Total value of the contract awarded to the Consortium by NGET/SPT Upgrades Ltd, a JV set up by the system operator National Grid Electricity Transmission and its Scottish counterpart Scottish Power Transmission, is around 1.1 billion Euro. Commissioning is scheduled by late 2015.

The Western HVDC Link interconnection is strategic for the upgrade of the entire British transmission grid, as the UK is heading towards a low carbon economy with a massive utilization of power from renewable sources. The project represents a milestone not only for its value but also in terms of technological features, setting new industry records. The interconnection, designed as a low loss High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission system, will operate at the record voltage level of 600 kV, the highest ever reached by an insulated cable (to date the record is 500 kV) with a rating of 2200 MW - both currently unmatched for long-haul systems. The main purpose of the cable link is to connect renewable generation sources in Scotland to the consumption centers in England, although it also allows bi-directional flow of power. The choice of a submarine cable link versus a land interconnection offers remarkable benefits in terms of project approval and execution time.

“This milestone reconfirms our undisputed prominent role in the submarine cables sector – states Fabio Romeo, Executive Vice President Energy Business -- both in terms of market share and track record and in terms of know-how and innovation capabilities. In addition, I would also like to highlight our ever-increasing commitment to the renewable energies sector, with a wide range of high-end products and technologies available to support the development of greener and smarter power grids”.

The project requires full turnkey provision of an HVDC link (design, manufacture, installation, testing and commissioning) and considers a bi-pole of cables using PPL (Paper Polypropylene Laminate) insulation, with enhanced electrical and thermal performance. Prysmian has been a forerunner in bringing on the market Mass Impregnated PPL cables an innovative material technology that allows reaching higher voltage classes, reduced cables dimensions for equivalent transmission capacity and optimized power losses. The undisputed expertise in the field of MI PPL cables represented a key success factor for Prysmian in winning the award.

With a route length in excess of 400 km the link includes a short land section in Scotland and a significant land portion in England-Wales; the submarine part will be installed in the Irish Sea. Offshore installation will be performed by Prysmian's own cable ship Giulio Verne.