FAB Project makes final route selection for interconnector

Partners FAB Link Limited and RTE, the promoters of the FAB Project, have made a final decision on the interconnector’s route between France and the UK.

The selected route crosses the English Channel / La Manche without the need to make landfall on the island of Alderney.

James Dickson, the FAB Link Project Director, said: “Since 2017 we have been working on the basis that we had the option to pursue either of two potential routes.

“One, which crosses Alderney, was designed to provide a route to market in the UK and France for tidal electricity generated in the island’s waters.

“The second route bypasses the island without making landfall there. Given ongoing uncertainties around the need for Alderney to export electricity, the promoters have decided to proceed with this second route.

“This gives us more certainty, as we need to work with fewer permissions, approvals and licences. It is also a more cost-effective route, and it will take less time to lay the cables.

“Following our joint agreement in February to review the project and provide updated information to regulators, this marks another step forward towards our aim of securing a final investment decision and starting construction in 2025.”


New Agreement a tentative step forward for FAB Project

An agreement was entered into by FAB Link Limited and RTE, the project promoters for the FAB project in Feb22 to review and reassess the project. The aim of the endeavour is to provide updated project information to regulators within the next year and to seek their support for resuming the project. Establishing a new project schedule will form part of this exercise however provisional key dates target a Final Investment Decision by the end of 2025 and Commercial Operation by the end of 2028.

“Whilst we remain cautiously optimistic this is a welcome development for the project following a long waiting period. We hope to have more detail on our plans this time next year.” Said James Dickson, the FAB Link Project Director.


FAB Link maintain the need for urgency to progress interconnector

FAB Link’s independent assessment has underlined the clear justification for additional interconnector capacity between Britain and France.

A separate study, on behalf of the French energy regulator CRE, suggests that it appears necessary to wait for more clarity on the terms and conditions of Brexit, as well as on the evolution of the market fundamentals and on the implementation of public policies that may favourably impact the value of new interconnectors between Britain and France.

James Dickson, FAB Link Project Director, said: “We will be reviewing the detail of this development and the underlining assessment which has informed the position of the CRE (Commission de régulation de l’énergie/Regulatory Commission of Energy).

“FAB Link’s recent assessment conducted by an external consulting firm concluded there was a clear justification for the FAB interconnector project to proceed. We continue to strive to find the best way to proceed. We will work with our partner RTE, and with the British and French regulators to find the best solution for 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.

“International infrastructure projects of this nature require long-term development and construction commitment before the benefits can be delivered and, in our view, 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.

“FAB Link Ltd and its partners have already secured a wide range of onshore and offshore permissions that will enable the 1.4GW interconnector project to move quickly to the construction stage once we have regulatory approval.”


FAB Project secures marine licences in the Channel Islands

The FAB Project interconnector between Britain and France has taken another major step forward for the offshore cable works within the Bailiwick of Guernsey territorial waters.

In response to the application submitted in January 2017, a licence known as the ‘FEPA Licence’ has been issued by the Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation (OEHPR) which will allow FAB Link to build and maintain the proposed subsea interconnector within the territorial sea limit of Alderney for the route that makes landfall on Alderney.

The OEHPR has also confirmed that the application submitted in November 2017 for an alternative offshore cable route around Alderney does not require a FEPA Licence as the proposed works are entirely outside of the 3 nautical mile territorial sea limit of 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.

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: “These decisions represent another significant step forward for our proposals.

“We have now secured all the necessary offshore permissions that will enable the FAB Project to install and maintain the marine cables between Britain and France, whether we choose to progress the original route that makes landfall at Alderney or the alternative route around Alderney.

“Both options retain the ability for the FAB Project to provide a route to market for future tidal stream energy generation from the waters around Alderney.


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.