Proposals for the FAB Project electricity interconnector have taken a major step forward with approval of outline proposals 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.