Nexans, the worldwide leader in the cable industry, has signed a €180m turnkey contract with Fingrid Oyj and Elering OÜ, the electricity transmission system operators in Finland and Estonia, to construct a second direct current (DC) power link, the EstLink 2, between the two countries.

The EstLink 2 DC connection will deliver an additional bi-directional transmission capacity of 650MW between Finland and Estonia to provide one of the key reinforcements in the electricity transmission system as requested by the TSOs in the Baltic Sea region. Together with the 350MW Estlink 1 connection, the total electricity transmission capacity between Finland and Estonia will rise to 1,000MW. The EU Commission also considers EstLink 2 to be very important in view of market development and security of supply in the region, which is why it has granted an investment subsidy of €100m for the project.

Nexans will design, manufacture and install the new 145km DC subsea cable between Finland and Estonia, as well as a 12km section of underground cable in Estonia. The turnkey contract includes civil works as well as the protection of the subsea cables by burying them into the seabed.

The subsea cable will be manufactured in Nexans’ specialised facility in Halden, Norway and installed by Nexans’ own cable laying ship, the C/S Nexans Skagerrak. The cable is an integrated return conductor (IRC) type so only a single cable is required to create the 450kV DC link. The project is scheduled to be ready for system testing in September 2013.

“This major contract for the EstLink 2 connection rounds off a year in which Nexans has been exceptionally successful in winning orders for high voltage subsea power links,” says Yvon Raak, Nexans senior corporate executive vice president. “It is clear that in addition to our technical capability that enables us to meet any requirement for AC or DC cables, customers also value our comprehensive service that goes from the initial design studies through manufacture and supply to installation, and also includes protecting the cables on the seabed.”