Red Eléctrica de España (REE) has awarded Nexans with a contract worth around 50 million euros to manufacture and install a power cable that will connect the islands of Majorca and Menorca in Spain.

The contract was signed only 20 days after the Spanish Council of Ministers granted administrative authorization and declared it as a public utility project. The interconnection is due to be up and running in 2020.

“We have streamlined all the necessary procedures to shorten the deadlines as much as possible and have a new cable functioning in the shortest time span, taking into account the complexity of the tender. In this sense and prior to the approval by the Council of Ministers, we had been working for months to advance in all the previous and essential steps to carry out the tender,” said Eva Pagán, Red Eléctrica’s General Director of Transport.

As a global expert in advanced cabling and connectivity solutions, Nexans has secured a turnkey project covering engineering, design, supply, installation and testing of the interconnection.

“We are thrilled to bring our expertise to Red Eléctrica, building on Nexans’ long track record of successful power interconnector projects, including the recent NordLink project between Norway and Germany or the MonIta project between Montenegro and Italy. By delivering a power interconnector between Majorca and Menorca, Nexans will bring security of supply, improving renewable integration and enhancing efficiency for both islands. By delivering a power interconnector between Majorca and Menorca, Nexans will bring security of supply, improving renewable integration and enhancing efficiency for both islands,” said Ragnhild Katteland, Nexans Vice President Subsea and Land Systems.

The new underground and submarine 132 kV power cables, which will link up Majorca and Menorca, will be 68 kilometers in length and will be laid on the seabed at a maximum depth of 81 meters. The interconnection global project between Majorca and Menorca, which represents a total investment of 84 million euros, will strengthen the security and quality of supply on both islands and will allow greater integration of renewable energy under safe conditions for the system and a greater efficiency of the interconnected systems.

The subsea cable will be manufactured by Nexans Norway in its Halden facility while the underground cable will be produced by Nexans Benelux in Charleroi, Belgium. The fiber optic element will be delivered by Nexans Norway’s specialized unit in Rognan. The installation of the interconnector will be carried out using the specialized cable laying vessel, C/S Nexans Skagerrak.

Furthermore, under a separate, but related contracted Red Eléctrica de España has reinforced, in coordination with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, the Balearic Government and the insular administration of Menorca, the Special Maintenance Plan for Menorca by incorporating additional technical and human resources. For example, a special crane which is designed to adapt to the terrain and enable 24/7 access to carrying out works on the high-voltage grid.

This will give additional support and further shorten the response times in the case of any future unpredictable and unforeseen events such as that which happened on 28 October, when a waterspout tornado hit the island from north to south.

As the transmission grid on the island is not prepared or designed for the direct installation of emergency generators following incidents like this, Red Eléctrica is continuing to implement measures to ensure the power supply on the island. For example, by replacing materials and repairing the grid infrastructure.

The Special Maintenance Plan was activated in 2018 and has all the necessary manpower and technical resources to strengthen the security of supply and reliability of the transmission grid in Menorca and to reduce power restoration times as and when the need arises.