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.