The contract to build the 100 km submarine cable that will provide Malta’s first power interconnection with mainland Europe has been won by Nexans.

Under the contract, awarded by Enemalta Corporation, the state-owned energy authority in Malta, Nexans will design, manufacture and install the interconnector and also provide seabed protection for the new HV AC link between Malta and Sicily. The contract includes a 220kV substation on Malta and 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 200 MW interconnector by the end of 2015.

The new cable, with a capacity of 200 MW in either direction, 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. It is scheduled to be operational by 2013. It will allow the import and export of power between Malta and Sicily as required. The subsea section of the cable will run for 100 km from Qalet-Marku in Malta to Marina di Ragusa on the coast of Sicily, where an additional 25 km of underground cable will complete the connection to the Ragusa substation thereby joining the 132 kV network in Malta and the 220 kV UCTE network in Sicily.

The 220 kV 3x630mm2 submarine cables with XLPE insulation will be manufactured in Nexans’ specialised submarine cable factory in Halden, Norway. Installation will be carried out by Nexans’ cable ship, the C/S Nexans Skagerrak. The cables will be installed in the Malta-Sicily channel at water depths of 150 metres and the cables will be buried to around 1 metre below the seabed. The cable itself includes two fibre optic elements each with 36 fibres. These elements will be manufactured in the Nexans factory in Rognan, Norway.