Two new converter transformers, critical to the Interconnexion France-Angleterre (IFA) interconnector, have been safely delivered to Sellindge Converter Station in Kent.
The converters arrived on site after being transported over 500 miles from Germany and are now ready for what will be a record breaking project, where two of the eight existing transformers will be replaced in a shorter time than ever before.
None of this could have happened without teams from National Grid Ventures, Capital Delivery and Electricity Transmission Operations all working together, aiming for the highest standards throughout.
Transformers increase voltages from the converter station to the UK power network and vice versa; they are an integral component in the operation of a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnector. The new assets were designed, manufactured and tested at the Siemens factory in Nuremberg, Germany – a process that has taken over a year.
They are critical to the IFA interconnector, as each transformer will carry 250MW of power, and a vital part of the refurbishment programme to ensure continued safe operation of the link for the next 30 years.
The transformer’s journey
The 330-tonne transformers (the weight of eight fully loaded HGV lorries) began their journey in Nuremberg and were transported on barges up the River Rhine to Belgium before crossing the channel to Dover. They then made their way through Kent in the dead of night – travelling at around 12mph on a specialist trailer measuring more than 80 metres – to finally arrive at their destination in Sellindge.
A lot of work went into making sure the journey was smooth; including talking to the local community, informing the general public and coverage in local media.
This is a major delivery milestone of the IFA Refurbishment Project, an eight-year programme to breathe new life to the 2GW IFA Interconnector for another 30 years – providing the UK and France with significant environmental, economic and energy security benefits. Along with the other existing and incoming interconnectors within our portfolio, IFA’s continued operation will play a pivotal role in contributing towards a smarter energy future.
About the IFA Interconnector
IFA is joint venture between the French transmission operator RTE and National Grid, operating the subsea electricity link between Sellindge in Great Britain and Les Mandarins in France. It was commissioned in 1986.