International Projects Group (IPG), a specialist team within the RSK Group, will create a marine construction environmental management plan and provide construction environmental services for Nexans Norway AS to facilitate the building of the Celtic Interconnector, a 700 MW underwater cable being developed jointly by EirGrid and Réseau de Transport d’Électricité, the Irish and French electricity transmission system operators. 

Once complete, the project will directly link Ireland and France to further the use of renewable energy solutions by ensuring electricity can be distributed to where it is needed, securely and efficiently. 

IPG’s Project Manager James Brocklehurst said: “This 700-MW-capacity project, approximately enough to power 450,000 homes, will involve the world’s longest cross-linked polyethylene interconnector cable and will be the first submarine link for direct electricity exchange between France and Ireland. The cable crosses from Ireland through Irish and UK waters to France and will need 500 km of undersea cable.” 

James said the cable will pass through the Celtic Sea, which meets the Irish south coast and surrounds the southwest of the UK and the tip of north-western France. 

“In order to protect this ecological area, a cable route has been planned to avoid environmentally sensitive areas, and the Nexans team will carry out detailed surveys to micro-site the cable route. Geophysical and geotechnical surveys will identify the best way to bury and protect the cable with the least disturbance to the environment.” 

“IPG’s work includes writing the environmental plan and carrying out on-site auditing to ensure that the minimum amount of material is spread into the water column, that noise and vibration are reduced and that the risk of spreading non-native species is mitigated. Our experience as a leading marine consultancy and our prior involvement in other interconnector cable and pipeline projects across the UK and Ireland mean we are well placed to deliver on this project.” 

Besides producing the environmental plan, RSK’s supporting services will include a fisheries liaison and coexistence plan, Notices to Mariners and other project communications. The cross-border nature of the work, which will consist of support from RSK Ireland and RSK France, means liaising with multiple departments responsible for operational permits for the construction work required in Irish, UK and French waters. 

Kathy Bradshaw, IPG Marine Team Lead, said: “It’s a great example of collaborative working across RSK internationally and highlights the strengths RSK can bring to a major project like this.” 

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