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FAB Project interconnector planning approval welcomed

Proposals for the FAB Project electricity interconnector have taken a major step forward with East Devon District Council resolving unanimously to grant outline planning permission for a converter station to be built near Exeter International Airport.

The FAB Project will link the national electricity grids of Britain and France with the aim of increasing energy security, cutting consumers’ bills, and enabling greater use of greener, low-carbon electricity.

The subsea interconnector cables will be laid between the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy and Budleigh Salterton in Devon, via Alderney in the Channel Islands to provide a route to market for low-carbon electricity from proposed tidal generators.

From Budleigh Salterton, the 1,400 megawatt cables will be laid underground to the Long Lane converter station, where the High Voltage Direct Current which will be transmitted through the cables will be converted to High Voltage Alternating Current. Further underground cables will then link the converter station to an existing National Grid substation near Broadclyst.

Chris Jenner, the FAB Project’s Development Manager, said: “This unanimous decision for the UK converter station from East Devon District Council’s development management committee marks a significant step forward for our proposals.

“It comes a few weeks after the council also confirmed that our plans to lay the underground cables between the substation, the converter station and the landfall of the subsea cables at Budleigh Salterton are considered to be lawful development.

“The council has recognised that there is an overwhelming public interest in our project because of the many benefits it will bring to the region and the country as a whole.
“Before finalising our proposals both for the converter station and the 20km onshore route we undertook an extensive public consultation exercise and we have also spent a great deal of time talking to local people, councillors, landowners and other stakeholders. We’re very grateful to everyone who helped us to refine our plans.

“We believe our proposals mean we can install the cables with the minimum of inconvenience to local people and we will work closely with anyone who may be affected. We have carefully chosen our route to avoid environmentally sensitive areas, and we will fully reinstate the land along the route once we have laid our cables.

“These latest approvals from East Devon District Council mean we remain on schedule for construction to start next year and for the interconnector to be operational in 2021, adding to the UK’s energy mix, bringing new competition to the wholesale electricity market and ultimately helping to keep consumers’ bills down.”

For more information on the FAB Project, see www.fablink.net


FAB Project seeking approval for interconnector plans

Proposals for an interconnector which would increase Britain’s energy security and help cut people’s electricity bills have taken a major step forward.

The FAB Project is proposing to build a 1.4 GW subsea and underground link from the Cotentin Peninsula in northern France to the UK’s National Grid near Exeter.

The planned route of the link is via Alderney, in the Channel Islands, where large-scale tidal electricity generation is being developed. The FAB Project would then provide a way to deliver this predictable renewable energy to consumers, helping lower their carbon footprints.

Now plans for the project, which is licenced by Ofgem, have been submitted to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), East Devon District Council and the States of Guernsey.

The majority of the 220-km project is subsea, so a Marine Licence is needed from the MMO, and permission for work in the waters off the Channel Islands is being sought from the States of Guernsey. The FAB Project is also applying for a Certificate of Lawful Development from East Devon District Council for the UK onshore route from landfall at Budleigh Salterton to the National Grid substation near Exeter.

A converter station will be needed to change the direct current which is transmitted through the link to alternating current used by the National Grid, and vice versa. This is the only part of the link which will be built above ground in the UK, near Exeter International Airport. East Devon Council is also being asked to approve outline plans for this building.

Chris Jenner, the FAB Project Development Manager, said: “We have spent a great deal of time talking to local people, landowners, councils and other stakeholders and we’re very grateful to everyone who has helped us refine our plans. Well over 80 per cent of the people who gave us feedback said that they supported the aims of the FAB Project, which is very encouraging.

“We have been determined to develop proposals which will mean we can install the cables with the minimum of inconvenience to local people, and to work closely with anyone who may be affected. The route has also been carefully chosen to avoid environmentally sensitive areas, and we will fully reinstate the land along the route once the cables have been laid.”

Mr Jenner added: “With these applications now submitted, we’re on track to start construction on the interconnector in 2018, with the link targeted to become operational in 2021.

“We expect there to be little impact on the project arising from the Brexit vote, and it’s business as usual for us.

“When complete the FAB Link will increase Britain’s energy security by offering an additional source of electricity. By also bringing extra competition to the wholesale electricity market it should help to keep consumers’ bills down.”

The proposals can be seen here.


FAB Project launches CPO process

FAB Link Limited has issued a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in order to secure the land rights necessary for the purpose of constructing, operating and maintaining the FAB Project along the proposed underground cable route in East Devon. The CPO relates to land between Budleigh Salterton and the National Grid substation near Exeter and will be subject to confirmation from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In parallel with the CPO process, the FAB Project team are continuing to seek to acquire land rights by private agreement.

Further information regarding the order and accompanying maps can be found here

[VISIT CPO PAGE]


Views of people of Alderney welcomed at FAB Project consultation event

Proposals to install an electricity interconnector between France, Alderney and Britain have been unveiled to residents of the island.

A well-attended event at the Island Hall was told about the benefits the project would bring to Alderney, bringing immediate opportunities for fibre-optic broadband connection to the island and delivering the power cable infrastructure required for future connections to the UK and France.

The 1,400 megawatt underground and subsea interconnector would come ashore in Alderney at Longis Bay and Corblets Bay and would consist entirely of subsea and underground cables.

Nearly 300 people attended the event on August 10th which gave them an opportunity to discuss the initiative with members of the FAB Project team.

Questions were asked about the planning process as well as potential future impacts of planned tidal power generation. Chris Jenner, the FAB Development Manager, said: “We were very pleased to have met so many people, and would like to thank everyone who took the time to come along.

“We acknowledge and respect the concerns raised by some of the residents. However, we would like to reiterate that the planning process we are following means that at this stage we are consulting on the FAB Project’s underground and subsea cables.

“We still welcome further feedback on the FAB Project undersea and underground cables, and there is an opportunity for people who weren’t able to attend the event to give us their views via our website.”

Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE) is one of the partners in the FAB Project. Declan Gaudion, Director of ARE, said: “We will continue to work closely with local stakeholders and the States of Alderney to further develop our tidal generation proposals, including a proposed converter station in Mannez Quarry in due course, which are separate from the FAB Project.

“This will provide an opportunity at the right time in the future for ARE to come forward with detailed proposals and assessments in order that local stakeholders will be better informed on the basis of facts and evidence, rather than speculation.

“ARE looks forward to continued development of the FAB Project, which will enable us to develop the biggest opportunity our Island has – tidal energy projects.”

The public consultation on the FAB Project is running from July 25th to September 5th. Full details of the consultation and exhibition material is available online at www.fablink.net, as well as an online feedback form.


East Devon people welcome FAB Project’s UK consultation

Proposals to install an electricity interconnector between France, Alderney and Britain are being welcomed by around 90 per cent of people who took part in three days of community consultation in East Devon run by the FAB Project.

The aims of the FAB Project are to increase energy security, to lower bills for consumers, and to link up with tidal generators planned off Alderney, providing a way of transmitting reliable and predictable low-carbon electricity to both the UK and France.

The 1,400 megawatt underground and subsea interconnector would come ashore in the UK at Budleigh Salterton before linking to the National Grid substation near Broadclyst.

It would include a converter station near Exeter International Airport to change high-voltage direct current (HVDC) suitable for long-distance transmission to high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) used by the National Grid. There would be no pylons associated with the FAB Project in the UK, where the converter station would be the only part above ground.

Three public consultation events into the UK part of the project were held at Budleigh Salterton, Cranbrook and Woodbury Park on July 26, 27 and 28 where the detailed proposals were on show, and experts from the team were on hand to answer questions.

Early analysis of the feedback from the events shows that 90 per cent of the people surveyed said they supported the aims of the project.

Chris Jenner, the FAB Development Manager, said: “Over the three days we had more than 350 visitors and we’ve already received an encouraging amount of feedback which shows that the people of East Devon are very supportive of the project.

“We were very pleased to have met so many people, and would like to thank everyone who took the time to come along. There was a wealth of information available, which people have said they really appreciated, and everyone we asked said they came away with a good understanding of what we want to achieve.

“Our consultation runs until Monday, September 5, and full details of our proposals, including material from the three events, are available on our website www.fablink.net as well as at Budleigh Salterton library during normal opening hours.

“We still welcome further feedback, and there is an opportunity for people who weren’t able to attend any of the events to give us their views via the website. We’re particularly asking people to let us know which of two alternative routes through Budleigh Salterton they prefer.

“We have a further consultation event in Alderney on August 10, and once the consultation period closes we’ll carefully consider all the responses before drawing up our final proposals and submitting them to the relevant authorities for approval.”


FAB Project launches procurement process

The FAB Project partners – FAB Link in the UK and Alderney and RTE in France – have reached a significant milestone in the development of the project to link Devon and Normandy by undersea electricity cables. Having completed a pre-qualification process for contractors to design and build the link, the full procurement process has now been launched.

The project partners will jointly contract for the two packages that will be required to build the project. The first package is for the on- and offshore High Voltage Direct Current cables and the second package is for the converter stations in France and Britain on either side of the link (and the short underground High Voltage Alternating Current link to the National Grid in Britain).

The aim is to receive bids back from the market before the end of the year in keeping with the project plan to start construction in early 2018.


Public consultations

Public consultations on the FAB Project will be held in Britain and Alderney from Monday 25th July until Monday 5th September 2016.

Consultation documentation will be available to view on this site from 25th July, along with an opportunity to provide your feedback on the proposals which will inform the final decision on the route and application to build a converter station in Devon.

[VISIT CONSULTATIONS PAGE]


Have your say

Public consultations on the FAB Project will be held in Britain and Alderney from Monday 25th July until Monday 5th September 2016.

Consultation documentation will be available to view on this site from 25th July, along with an opportunity to provide your feedback on the proposals which will inform the final decision on the route and application to build a converter station in Devon.

[View the Events]


Cross-channel electricity link moves a step closer

A major international project which will see electricity flowing between France, the Channel Islands and the UK has come a step closer with fresh surveys taking place off East Devon and Alderney.

The team behind the FAB Link scheme is planning to lay two pairs of electricity cables between the Cherbourg peninsula in Normandy in northern France, and Devon. This interconnector, as it is called, will be able to carry power generated in Britain to France and vice versa, helping to ensure security of supply in the UK and continental Europe.
In addition, it will route via the Channel Island of Alderney in order to pick up electricity which will be generated by a huge tidal stream power plant that is proposed in the island’s waters.

FAB Link has been designated a key energy project by the European Union, and last year won the approval of Ofgem, Britain’s energy regulator. The French partner is RTE, Réseau de transport d’électricité, that country’s national grid company.

Survey work at the proposed ‘landing site’ at Budleigh Salterton beach in East Devon has been taking place this week following initial work in the summer of 2015.
Declan Gaudion, of Alderney Renewable Energy, one of the partners in the FAB Link project, said: “Alderney has some of the strongest tides in the world, and we intend to harness their power, which when fully developed, will generate enough electricity to power at least 1.8 million homes.

“The FAB Link interconnector will enable us to export this clean, reliable and renewable energy to consumers in Britain and France and beyond.”
Chris Jenner, from FAB Link, said: “The aim of our interconnector is to provide extra security of supply to both Britain and France, while at the same time helping to keep down prices for the consumer.

“Once the tidal power from Alderney is online, we’ll also be able to provide very low carbon electricity to the people of Britain and the rest of Europe.

“Here in the UK we’re looking into the feasibility of bringing our undersea cables ashore at Budleigh Salterton. We’re currently analysing data from engineering and environmental offshore surveys of the planned undersea route just off the coast.

“The response from all the local stakeholders we’ve started discussions with has been very positive.

“Once we have laid the cables underground we will reinstate the land so that it looks just as it did before we arrived. Nevertheless, we aim to hold a series of meetings with interested members of the public in the summer so we can hear what people think about our proposals.”

Gro Wæraas de Saint Martin, from RTE in France, said: “The project has won the approval of the Commission of the European Union because it will greatly increase energy security on both sides of the English Channel and beyond. Linking national grids in this way means that as more renewable energy sources are developed across Europe, the benefits of low-carbon power can be enjoyed by as many consumers as possible.”


FAB Link Marine Surveys to commence this month

The FAB Link project is entering its next phase of development, with the detailed submarine survey commencing in the second half of August. FAB Link have placed a contract for bathymetrical, geophysical, geotechnical and benthic (marine biological) surveys with MMT of Sweden. Up to four vessels will be mobilised and the work will cover the proposed shore-crossings in Devon and Alderney, near-shore surveys near to those landfalls and offshore surveys of the proposed submarine cable route. Onshore surveys of the proposed landfall sites in Devon and Alderney will also be undertaken.

For details of the survey locations please see the attached Notice to Mariners that has been distributed widely in the marine industry and to other interested parties.

Further information can be found here