A specialist joint venture between VolkerWessels sister companies VolkerInfra and VSMC has been awarded a £13m contract by Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) to design, supply, install, connect and precommission test approximately 5.7km of 132kV (extra high voltage) XLPE electricity submarine cable across the Solent.
This project, the first subsea electrical installation in this area for around 40 years, will replace one of the three subsea cables which supplies residents and businesses on the Isle of Wight. The present cable, which sits on the seabed, will be replaced with a new cable which will sit below the seabed.
The project will involve laying the cable from Lepe in Hampshire to Thorness Bay on the Isle of Wight using a variety of installation techniques including Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) on the island, specialist marine vessels and equipment to cross the Solent and open cut techniques at Lepe.
The specialist marine team will complete the project in two phases, the first phase from now until November, will involve the installation of an 875 metre horizontal directional drill from Thorness Bay, Isle of Wight, out into the sea bed of the Solent.
The second phase will commence in April 2014, following manufacture of a single length of bespoke cable, which will be transported and installed between the two locations under the Solent using specialist divers and marine installation vessels. This phase also involves excavations to install the cable on land and to pre-locate the existing fluid filled cables, which will be connected using fluid/XLPE transition joints. Cable jointing operations will be carried out under specially prepared environments.
Jonathon Humphries, managing director of VolkerInfra, said: "Calling on the very significant resources at our disposal within the VolkerWessels group our integrated project teams work together on many projects to provide end to end project management and delivery to our clients. This particular project has been in the planning stage for a considerable time and we look forward to the continuation of the successful collaborative relationship between the VolkerWessels group of companies and SSE on this important project."
This project represents a significant capital investment in the maintenance of the electricity infrastructure to the Isle of Wight by SEPD. Chandra Trikha, head of Capital Project Delivery for SEPD explains more about the background to the project: "We want to provide our customers with the best possible service and the installation of this new cable will help us achieve this aim, as it will make the electricity network to Isle of Wight more robust and less prone to external damage by anchors and marine actions which, in turn, reduces the risk of power cuts.
"At present, we have three subsea cables between the island and the mainland two of them are buried beneath the seabed. This new cable will replace the third cable, which is presently laid on the seabed, where it has been damaged by boats anchors and its movement due to marine action. This all means that on completion of the project, all of the island's electricity supplies will be provided by subsea cables which are securely located out of harm's way."