National Grid and ScottishPower Transmission are inviting people to come and find out what to expect in 2015 as activity increases to install a new 30-kilometre high voltage underground electricity cable across the Wirral peninsula and build a new electricity converter station on Deeside Industrial Park.
The underground cable and converter station are needed as part of the Western Link, a joint venture between the two companies to build one of the world’s longest undersea power cables to help bring renewable energy from Scotland to homes and businesses in England and Wales. The cable transmits direct current electricity, and the converter station changes this to alternating current for use in homes and businesses.
Towards the end of 2014, around 36 kilometres of cable was laid on the Wirral foreshore at Leasowe and out into Liverpool Bay, while elsewhere on the Wirral peninsula, preparations for cable-laying continued during the year. In 2015, people are likely to see a lot more activity right across the peninsula as cable-laying and jointing the sections of underground cable begins.
To let people know what to expect, three public information events are being held. A newsletter has been sent to people along the cable route and close to the converter station to let them know about the events.
Wednesday 22 April, 12.30-5.30pmHoylake Community CentreThe ParadeHoyle Hoylake CH47 3AG
Wednesday 29 April, 1-7pmHeswall United Reformed Church199 Telegraph RoadHeswall CH60 7SE
Thursday 30 April, 1-7pmThe Gladstone Village HallBurtonNeston CH64 5TH
Graham Edwards, Western Link Project Director, said: “Our main work takes place during the spring, summer and autumn months and people are likely to see a lot of activity this year from April onwards. I’d encourage anyone interested to come and talk to our project team at the open events about this essential project.
“To construct the cable along the Wirral, our contractor is establishing a temporary working corridor, around 20m wide, which is fenced off while it is being used. Within this corridor, we’ll be installing two cables in a single trench.
“The cables will be laid in sections around one kilometre long, with joints where the sections meet. In some areas temporary large lay-bys will be constructed for the delivery of the cable, which arrives on large drums. Here, and where our cables cross roads, are where our activities will be most noticeable.”
The Western Link is being delivered by a consortium of Siemens and Prysmian, with Prysmian responsible for the Wirral cable installation work, including all preparations and reinstatement, and Siemens for the construction of the converter stations at each end of the link.
The cable comes ashore at Leasowe in the north of the Wirral, continuing underground to the east of Heswall and Neston before turning south-west to run between Burton and Puddington towards Deeside Industrial Park, where the new converter station is being built. Cables will then be laid under the River Dee to connect to National Grid’s site at Deeside, where the electricity will flow into the existing transmission system. The pipes through which these cables will be pulled were installed in autumn 2014 – a major achievement for the project.
The underground cable across the Wirral peninsula will be laid mainly in agricultural fields. There will be some road closures needed, and one lane of the southbound A540 will be closed for around two kilometres to ensure that the cable can be laid here safely. All work affecting public roads is agreed with the relevant Highways Department. Signs will be placed in advance and notification included on the project website www.westernhvdclink.co.uk.
Construction of the converter station on Deeside Industrial Park progressed well in 2014 and the site is transformed from when work began in the summer of 2013. The superstructures of the main converter buildings are now virtually complete and foundations have been laid for other large specialist items of electrical equipment. Five of the 325-tonne transformers have already been delivered to site using specialist transport and escorted by police.
Graham added: “Over the next decade we need to invest in our electricity networks to provide energy security and help meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets. The Western Link will help us meet these challenges.”
A series of maps showing the route the cable will take, and time-lapse photography of the cable coming ashore at Leasowe, can be viewed on the project website www.westernhvdclink.co.uk.
Western Link has a dedicated community relations team who can be contacted by calling 0800 021 7878 or by emailing email@example.com.
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The Western Link project will transmit 2,200 MW of power, sufficient electricity to meet the needs of around 2m people, or a city four times the size of Liverpool.
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