BritNed Maasvlakte NL - Cable Landfall

BritNed, a joint venture between National Grid and TenneT, has constructed a subsea electricity link between Great Britain and the Netherlands. The BritNed cables have a capacity of 1000MW and a length of 260 kilometres. The link has been laid beneath the North Sea and runs between the Isle of Grain in Kent in the UK and the Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

Facts and figures

Interconnector Cable
Two high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine cables
Cable-separation pontoon Stemat 63, 2 x winch 40 tons
Project categories

ABB High Voltage Cables AB was awarded the contract to supply and install an HVDC power cable link. The interconnector link consists of two high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine cables designed to transmit bi-directional electrical power across the North Sea.. ABB subcontracted VBMS to perform the required landfall and nearshore works in the summer of 2009 at the Maasvlakte in the Netherlands.


The scope of work consists of the following:


  • Engineering the landfall;
  • Designing and building of Special Tools;
  • Coordination between offshore and onshore operations;
  • Installation of two PE dune/beach crossings with horizontal directional drilling;
  • Extension of PE pipes 300 metres into the sea;
  • Design, mobilisation and demobilisation of the separation pontoon;
  • Floating of HDVC cables from the Cable Lay Vessel Team Oman to the separation pontoon;
  • Pulling-in of HVDC cables from the separation pontoon to the joint bay;
  • Accurate positioning of cables 20 metres apart on the seabed;
  • Burial of HVDC cables in the shallow water section;
  • Filling of HDD ducts with cable grout.


The VBMS-owned 30-ton pulling winch was used to pull in the HVDC cables to the separation pontoon and the two 40-ton winches were used simultaneously to pull both the HDVC cables, in two 900-metre long ducts, to the joint bay on land.


Construction of the Maasvlakte port extension was a complicating factor, as this was responsible changing water depths, sedimentation and strong tidal currents. To tackle these problems, VBMS's Engineering Team developed special tools, such as over-boarding structures and a cable push frame for an anchor-handling vessel.


Another challenge was the 20-metre space required between the cables under the future land-reclamation area of Maasvlakte II, as far as 600 metres offshore. From this point, the cables were bundled and positioned placed on the seabed, as far as the CLV Team Oman.


VBMS was also contracted to bury the cables from the shoreline at a depth of 10 metres, up to a distance of 3,000 metres off the coast.


Thanks to close co-operation between all inter-company and external parties, the nearshore cable works were completed to the satisfaction of the ABB.


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