Spanish grid utility Red Electrica de España (REE) has awarded a contract to Nexans for the construction of an HVDC link between the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands. The contract, worth EUR146 million, is part of the COMETA (Conexíon Mediterranea de Transporte de Alta Tensión) project, and will enable Spain to meet rising energy demand in the Balearics driven by tourism.

The new 250 kV, 500 MW submarine power link will connect a power conversion station at Sagunto, north of Valencia on the Spanish mainland, to the west coast of Majorca. Nexans will supply 240 km of high voltage (250 kV – 750mm” copper conductor) DC submarine power cable, protected by double galvanised steel wire armour in its deepwater section.

The link will be fed by Spain’s 400 kV grid and is also designed to supply other Balearic islands through secondary 132 kV and 33 kV links, including the planned Majorca-Minorca and Majorca-Ibiza-Formentera links.

No offshore joints will be required as the cable will be armoured and delivered in a single length. Nexans will also supply 2 x 240 km of fibre optic cable.

The selected subsea route for the new link has a maximum depth of 1410 m and over 145 km of Nexans’ 240 km share of the cable will lie at below 800 m depth. At these depths the cableswill be buried in order to protect them against the hostile environment.

Installation is due to start in late 2010, with the whole project to be completed by mid-2011.