Work has started on ElecLink, a 1GW high voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnector between the UK and France.

The £490m ElecLink electricity connection will run through the Channel Tunnel between Sellindge in the UK and Les Mandarins in France.

Capable of supplying electricity to power up to two million homes, the 65km interconnection project is expected to improve energy capacity and security in the two countries.

UK Energy Minister Jesse Norman said: “As a government we are strongly supportive of greater electricity trading with our European partners in order to lower household bills and deliver energy security as part of our modern industrial strategy.”

ElecLink, a subsidiary of Eurotunnel is building the line which will be fist HVDC interconnector in a live rail tunnel. .

Groupe Eurotunnel chairman and CEO Jacques Gounon said: “ElecLink further underlines how important the Channel Tunnel is to Britain and France.

“Not only is it a vital transport link, it is set to play an instrumental part in the supply of electricity to the UK, France and continental Europe.”

Siemens has been selected to construct the converter stations in both UK and France while Balfour Beatty and Prysmian will be responsible for the fabrication and installation of the DC cables inside the Channel Tunnel and the underground AC cables on the UK side.

Additionally, RTE will install the underground AC cables in France.

Expected to create 300 jobs during the construction phase, the ElecLink interconnector will link the Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE) substation at Les Mandarins, France, with the National Grid (NGET) substation in Sellindge, UK.

The project is also support the development of a ‘super grid’ in Europe, a future potential project, which is estimated to reduce the cost of generating and supplying power in the entire region through costs sharing.

Image: The new power interconnector will link UK and France through the Channel Tunnel. Photo: Courtesy of Prysmian S.p.A.