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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

FAB Link awarded cap & floor

Following its Initial Project Assessment, Ofgem has granted FAB Link a cap and floor regime subject to certain conditions. The decision enables the project to continue development with the expectation that a revenue floor will provide the necessary certainty to project funders through construction and operation. A Final Project Assessment will be carried out prior to financial close in order to set the values of the revenue cap and floor.

Further information can be found here

Or by clicking here to view as attachment.

Ofgem minded-to award FAB a cap and floor regime

Ofgem announced today that it is minded-to award FAB (and two other projects) a cap and floor regime. The cap and floor regime will guarantee that project revenues will always be at or above a floor level in return for consumers benefiting from revenues above a cap level.

Ofgem’s assessment has given them confidence that in respect of FAB there are likely to be significant net benefits for GB consumers. Ofgem is consulting on this minded-to position prior to a final decision in summer 2015.

The decision in Summer 2015 will be a key milestone for the project which requires a cap and floor regime for investment to proceed.

Least Impact Corridor Approved In France

After an initial environmental evaluation, more than 40 meetings with different stakeholders, followed by the public consultation phase (see below), an official consultation meeting organised by the Prefecture de la Manche concluded that there was a consensus on the choice of the least impact corridor onshore and offshore in France. The consultation brochure is available here.

MMO Issues Schedule Of Permit Granting Process In GB

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has issued a Schedule of Permit Granting Process setting out the permit granting process to be followed by the project in Britain and its territorial waters. A copy of the Schedule can be found here.

Approval Of Concept For Public Participation Issued By The MMO

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has approved the Concept for Public Participation submitted by the FAB project to the MMO in October 2014. The Concept for Public Participation sets out the process through which the project will consult with the relevant stakeholders in Britain and its territorial waters.

Public Consultation In France

The public consultation phase in France took place between 10th January and 10th February 2015. More than 240 persons attended 4 public meetings and 3 open office events. The conclusions and minutes of the meetings are available here.

Information Brochure Published In France

The project information brochure was published and distributed to 10.000 persons in the French study area of the project. The information brochure is available here.

FAB Project Awarded Funding Through Connecting Europe Facility

The FAB project promoters have been awarded €7.235m development funding by the European Commission through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The CEF funding is available to Projects of Common Interest. The funding awarded represents 50% of the total cost of development.

Whilst subject to the signature of a grant agreement, the CEF funding should provide major assistance in carrying out the technical environmental, economic and legal studies necessary to bring the project into construction.