Nexans has been awarded an ambitious €178m turnkey contract by Enemalta, the state-owned energy authority in Malta, to design, manufacture, install and provide seabed protection of the new high-voltage alternating current (AC) submarine power link between Malta and Sicily. The contract includes a 220kV substation on Malta.

The 100km subsea cable, with a capacity of 200MW, will provide Malta with its first power interconnection with mainland Europe, reducing the island’s reliance on local generation and increasing its security of electrical power supply. The interconnector will be operational in 2013. The 220kV interconnector will provide the capability to deliver continuously at least 200MW at the receiving end in any direction, to allow the import and export of power between Malta and Sicily as required. The subsea cable will run for 100km from Qalet-Marku in Malta to Marina di Ragusa on the coast of Sicily, where an additional 25km of underground cable will complete the connection to the Ragusa substation.

The design of the interconnector cable and the compensating elements located in the terminating substations at Maghtab – Malta and Ragusa – Sicily will ensure the safe and efficient operability of the interconnector with the 132kV network in Malta and the 220kV UCTE network in Sicily. The contract awarded also includes the construction of the terminal station in Malta and the implementation of protection and control systems. The entire system has been designed to allow the construction of a second 200MW interconnector by the end of 2015.

“Winning this contract with Enemalta for the Malta to Siciliy interconnector confirms Nexans as the partner of choice for strategic subsea power links,” said Yvon Raak, Nexans senior corporate executive vice president, at the signing ceremony held in Malta. “A key factor in our favour was the proven capability to deliver a complete turnkey solution, not just for the cable but for all the technical aspects of the project.”

Submarine cables

The 220kV 3 x 630mm² submarine cables with XLPE insulation will be manufactured in Nexans’ specialised submarine cable factory in Halden, Norway. Installation will be carried out by Nexans’ own cable ship, the C/S Nexans Skagerrak. The cables will be installed in the Malta-Sicily channel at water depths of 150m and the cables will be buried to around 1m below the seabed.

The submarine cable includes two fibre optic elements each with 36 fibres. The FO elements will be manufactured in the Nexans factory in Rognan, Norway. The underground cables for the land sections of the interconnector will be manufactured by Nexans in France.