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FAB Project secures access to underground route in UK

The FAB Project, planning to build an interconnector linking the electricity grids of Britain and France via Alderney, has secured access to its proposed underground route in the UK.

This latest permission means that the team behind the project will be able to access all the land needed along the underground route from where the electricity cables come ashore in Britain at Budleigh Salterton in East Devon to the National Grid substation near Exeter, via a planned converter station close to Exeter International Airport.

Although the permission, from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), is termed a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), it does not mean the FAB Project will necessarily own the land along the route.

Development Manager Chris Jenner said: “This Order is about our having permission to access land so we can lay the cables underground, and return in the years to come for any maintenance which may be needed. We would use the CPO to acquire rights to access land, not to buy the land itself.

“For the great majority of the route we have already signed individual agreements with landowners. Indeed, we hope to complete negotiations with the remaining landowners, meaning we won’t need to invoke the CPO at all.

“The granting of the CPO is, however, the latest in a number of consents necessary for the development phase of the project in the UK.

“We aren’t yet in a position to give a firm starting date for construction as uncertainty related to Brexit is delaying our regulatory approvals process.

“But we are confident in the fundamentals behind the project, and only in November last year the EU reaffirmed our status as a Project of Common Interest. We are working hard to ensure the delay to the project will be kept to a minimum.

“The FAB Project will bring new competition to wholesale energy markets, lowering bills for consumers; will allow greater access to low-carbon sources of electricity; and will increase energy security for both the UK and continental Europe.

“We are determined to complete the project and bring these major benefits to people on both sides of the Channel as soon as possible.”

A copy of the order as confirmed by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and of the maps referred to therein are available at https://itportal.beis.gov.uk/EIP/pages/projects/FABLink.htm


FAB Link welcomes further planning approvals

The FAB Project interconnector between Britain and France has taken another major step forward with the approval of a licence from the UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The Marine Licence will allow FAB Link to build and maintain the proposed subsea interconnector within UK waters.

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 220km subsea and underground 1.4GW interconnector is due to make landfall in the UK at Budleigh Salterton in East Devon.

Chris Jenner, the FAB Project’s Development Manager, said: “This decision is another significant step forward for our proposals.

“The FAB Project team has worked closely with the MMO and their statutory advisors to ensure that the Marine Licence provides permission for the necessary construction and maintenance activities, together with appropriate safeguards to ensure that the FAB Project can proceed without any significant impacts on the marine environment.

“This decision is a reflection of the positive dialogue between the FAB Project and the various stakeholders who have an interest in the UK waters, particularly Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in East Devon.

“Furthermore, this decision comes a few weeks after East Devon District Council gave planning permission for a section of the onshore cable route along the Otter Valley. This permission will enable the FAB Project to bring our cables ashore in such a way that not only provides them with long-term protection but also leaves a much-improved section of footpath for local people and visitors to enjoy for years to come.”

In July 2017, East Devon District Council gave outline planning permission for the project’s UK converter station near Exeter International Airport after also issuing a certificate of lawful development allowing the electricity cables to be laid underground between the landfall at Budleigh Salterton and the National Grid substation near Broadclyst.


Partners remain confident in future of FAB Project

The partners developing the FAB Project remain fully committed to the 1.4GW electricity interconnector between Britain and France after the French energy regulator said it needed more clarity on the conditions of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The CRE (Commission de régulation de l’énergie/Regulatory Commission of Energy), has written to the FAB Project’s French partners, RTE (Réseau de Transport d’Electricité), saying it is not yet in a position to offer its support to future electricity interconnector projects between Britain and France beyond those already approved.

Nevertheless, the team behind the FAB Project remains confident in the long-term economic case for increased trade in electricity between Britain and France.

James Dickson, FAB Link Project Director, said: “Given that regulatory support is an essential part of the project, this decision will inevitably lead to a delay to our programme of development and subsequent construction. We are studying the CRE’s announcement in detail and are exploring all options to ensure the project achieves a final investment decision as quickly as possible. We remain committed to finding the best way to proceed so we can complete this project of international importance.

“The FAB Project will increase energy security, bring new competition in wholesale energy markets, and contribute to the increased use of renewable energy in Britain and France. These fundamentals remain sound, and the sooner we can complete the project the sooner the benefits will flow to consumers and businesses in both countries.”

The FAB Project is being developed in the UK and Alderney by FAB Link Ltd, a joint venture between Transmission Investment and Alderney Renewable Energy, and in France by RTE, the French national grid company. Work on the construction phase of the 220-km subsea and underground interconnector project had been due to start in 2018.

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


FAB Link submits application for an Alternative Offshore Cable Route around Alderney

FAB Link has submitted an application to the States of Guernsey for an alternative subsea route around the island of Alderney for its interconnector cables.

Delays to Alderney’s Land Use Plan (LUP) process and continuing uncertainty around FAB Link’s ability to submit a planning application for cables on the island have led to the alternative route being proposed.

The route has been developed in the Bailiwick of Guernsey territorial waters from the French Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the north and French territorial waters to the south.

An offshore geophysical and benthic survey of the alternative subsea route was undertaken in July 2017. The data from this survey has been used to confirm the feasibility of the route and to inform the production of the environmental report that accompanies this application, which has been made to the States of Guernsey.

Chris Jenner, the FAB Development Manager, said: “We have submitted this alternative route in case we cannot progress with the original proposal which crosses Alderney.

“As with the original application submitted in December 2016, the offshore alternative route has been designed to enable the connection of future tidal stream energy in States of Alderney waters.

“This alternative application does not prejudice the progression of the onshore cable route pre-application process currently ongoing with the States of Alderney.”

The FAB (France-Alderney-Britain) Project is a 220km subsea and underground 1.4GW electricity interconnector between France and Britain, via the island of Alderney. It 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 latest application and environmental report are available to download here.


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.