Danish cable manufacturer NKT has completed an inspection survey and remediation work on the East-West interconnector, a power link between Ireland and Great Britain.

The East-West interconnector, owned by the EirGrid Interconnector Designated Activity Company (EIDAC), a subsidiary of the EirGrid Group, underwent the essential maintenance as part of a long-term service agreement with NKT. It is crucial for ensuring the interconnector’s optimal performance and enhancing its longevity.

EirGrid chief operations officer Rodney Doyle stated: “EirGrid has a long-standing partnership with NKT as we work together to secure the condition of the East-West interconnector. As the interconnector is a critical piece of infrastructure between Ireland and Great Britain it must be maintained in an optimal condition.

“The recent survey showed the necessity of remediation work on sections of the cable. These works are now complete, ensuring the continuity of supply between Ireland and Great Britain.

“The survey conducted by NKT, including characterisation of seabed conditions along the cable, led to concrete mattresses and rock bags being placed above exposed sections of the interconnector.

“Carrying out periodic cable inspection surveys ensures that the cable can withstand extreme conditions and perform safe operations. A precise analysis and mitigation plan is a key element for preventing cable failures and reducing downtime.”

Regular inspections and remediation are key to maintaining the integrity of such infrastructure, which operates under harsh environmental conditions.

Subsea cables such as the East-West interconnector are particularly vulnerable to damage from external objects including anchoring or fishing gear, and can also suffer mechanical faults due to the uneven seabed.

The inspection process allows for the early detection of environmental changes and potential hazards, preventing cable failures and enhancing operational performance.

NKT Service executive vice-president Axel Barnekow Widmark stated: “We are pleased to announce that both the inspection survey and remediation work following the survey are now successfully completed. The inspection survey led to remediation work being done for EIDAC, using our vessel NKT Victoria.

“EIDAC is a long-standing partner to NKT, and the long-term service agreement is a testament to the strong collaboration between our companies to jointly optimise the performance of their interconnector.”

The interconnector, which has been operational since December 2012, is a high-voltage direct current submarine and underground power cable.

It has a 500MW power rating and enables the trading of electricity between the Irish and British wholesale electricity markets, playing a significant role in the energy sector.

In March 2024, NKT secured a contract with German transmission system operator Amprion for the supply of high-voltage alternating and direct current onshore power cable systems worth €1.2bn ($1.3bn).