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OVERVIEW OF UNDERGROUND POWER

CABLES AT HIGH/EXTRA HIGH VOLTAGE
LEVELS

2008
www.europacable.com

I. Introduction to Europacable
Europacable is:
‰ Association of European Cable Manufacturers including:

Europacable aims to:
‰ promote of the use of underground cables for electricity transmission;
‰ ensure the complete and correct understanding of the technical specifications of
underground cables by relevant stakeholders.

Europacable has developed a realistic position for cable transmission solutions:
‰ Extra high voltage underground cables are rarely appropriate for an entire new AC
power transmission project;
‰ When a 100% overhead route is unacceptable, however, underground cables are
an appropriate solution to unblock the project. Application of partial
undergrounding of a line can provide a compromise to allow a project to proceed
without years of legal contests.

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Introduction to European Copper Institute ‰ Joint venture between International Copper Association (representing world’s leading mining companies) and European copper industry ‰ Key competencies: – market intelligence and policy analysis – EU regulatory issue management – environment and health science – advocacy & education – market development and defence – media relations ‰ Based in Brussels since 1998 3 . I.

Transmission losses 7. Trench size 4. 400 kV XLPE Cable 2.II. Constructions issues – urban areas 5. Technical questions on extra high voltage underground cables 1. Reliability 10. 400kV XLPE Cable Joint Bay 3. Costs 4 . Impact on the network 8. Construction issues – countryside trenching 6. Environmental impacts 9.

400 kV XLPE Cable 400 kV XLPE Cable: ‰ Used for commercial purposes for more than 25 years ‰ current state of the art technology ‰ easier installation and jointing ‰ environmentally low risk ‰ almost maintenance free 400 kV XLPE cable design 1 Copper conductor 2 Semiconductor 3 XLPE insulation 4 Semiconductor 5 Waterblocking 6 Welded aluminium sheath 7 PE outer sheath 5 . 1.

2. 400 kV XLPE Cable Joint Bay ‰ The 400 kV cables can be delivered in lengths up to 1000 m ‰ Cable joint bays .generally unobtrusive underground structures ‰ Temporary tents are set-up only during installation ‰ Only exceptionally are cable joint bays buried in specific compounds (13m X 3m) 6 .

Trench size Width of trench: ‰ Dependent on the number of cables ‰ Number of cables depends on desired transmission capacity ‰ Transmission capacity needs to be defined realistically ‰ In principle. 3. but in some cases a football field ‰ At voltages of 275kV and below. can be applied directly onto a pylon 7 . a trench for underground cables is not as wide as the right of way required for overhead lines Overhead-Underground Transition Stations: ‰ Can be size of tennis court .

Construction issues – urban areas ‰ Trench per system: ca 1.5 m deep. under or between roads ‰ Subsequently the area is re-instated to original condition 8 . 1-2 m wide ‰ Access for heavy machinery needs to be available along the line ‰ Underground cables can easily be placed next to. 4.

Constructions issues . landscape can be completely re- instated within 18-24 months 9 .Countryside Trenching ‰ Construction time depends mainly on ground conditions ‰ Trenching requires access for heavy machinery along the line ‰ A variety of “non-invasive” procedures are available to pass under sensitive areas or streets or nature reserves ‰ Depending on the type of vegetation. 5.

‰ An independent study (ForWind) has determined losses for one project: “Underground cable have lower transmission losses than overhead lines under specific parameters because due to thermal reasons underground cables have a larger conductor” ‰ Increased losses in transmission system require additional power generation. 10 . 6. Transmission losses ‰ Transmission losses both for overhead lines and underground cables depend upon the system design and loading. ‰ Therefore it is not possible give a generic answer.

‰ Studies on several 400 kV transmission grids show that the characteristics of underground cables can in many cases be beneficial to the overall performance of the network. ‰ If needed. 7. to evaluate whether additional installations for reactive compensation are needed. ‰ A grid-study should be carried out for very long cable connections. 11 . i.e. Impact on the network ‰ Insertion of new interconnections in existing networks require detailed planning. these additional measures can be applied at existing substations or corridors and do not require any extra compound area for installation. more than 20 km.

cable resistance and loss of the resulting heat into the surroundings – How much heat is distributed to the surrounding soil depends on the filling material used around the cable – Under extreme conditions of use. Environmental impacts ‰ Possible heating of ground: – Operating temperature of an underground cable depends on the current carried. the soil directly over the trench can heat up by approximately 2 °C – This could cause drying of the soil under certain circumstances ‰ There are no restrictions for the cultivation of land. ‰ Underground cables do not create any environemntal burden through the creation of noise. 12 . ‰ Underground cables emit no electric field and can be engineered to emit a lower magnetic field than an OHL. 8. although vegetation with deep roots must be avoided.

Underground cables are not affected by severe weather. Only outside influences can disturb and damage underground cables In use. Reliability & Life expectancy ‰ Disturbance of underground cables occurs less frequently than for overhead lines . – Repairs caused by damage: • Quick and precise location of errors with modern monitoring technology • Reparation time 2 . ‰ Careful long-term testing has been conducted and life expectancy of XLPE-insulated cables is approximately 30 . cables do not require maintenance.3 weeks (if. ‰ Reliability of XLPE-isolated cables: – Producers guarantee homogeneous cable quality according to international standards (IEC 62067). spare parts are kept in stock). 13 . 9.40 years. as recommended.

visual amenity. outage costs. the cost of installation works can increase up to 60%. 14 . which will benefit local companies. maintenance. property value). ‰ Latest life-cycle analysis confirm that the cost factor compared to overhead lines can be as little as 2–5 times for many situations. ‰ Cost comparisons often only address costs of installation and ignore lifecycle costs such as losses. decommissioning. 10. ¾ A comprehensive life-cycle analysis should take these into consideration Furthermore: ‰ Every project is different and it is not possible to make generic cost estimates. ‰ Partial undergrounding can create predictability for planning and have a positive effect on authorisation procedures and costs.g. ‰ Depending on ground and surface characteristics. Costs ‰ Underground cables are – at installation – more expensive than overhead lines due to higher product and installation costs. costs of delay in getting authorisations & impact on those affected by the line (e.

III. Examples of ongoing underground cable projects in Europe 15 .

Hulfe ‰ Proposal (Erdkabelgesetz) adopted in December 2007 by the Parliament of Lower Saxony ‰ Legislation requires use of UGC if proposed OHL is: In proximity of buildings: 200 meters In proximity of residential areas: 400 meters Where crossing environmentally protected areas 16 . 1. Germany: Lower Saxony ‰ Proposal to build 80km 380kV line from Ganderkesee-St.

17 . 2. Austria: Salzburg link ‰ Ongoing debate-opposition to full OHL St Peter ‰ January 2007: Austrian Energy Agency published a study recommending the use of partial undergrounding to unblock project. Cabling is state of the art technology and partial undergrounding (around 40km) would only add €4 to Kaprun Bruck the average bill. Eugendorf ‰ August 2007: Minister Eisl asked Elixhausen KEMA to assess whether partial Koppel undergrounding of Salzburg part II is Bad Vigaun technically feasible ‰ 28 January 2008: Presentation of KEMA study.

Stirling Scottish Stirling ‰ TSOs accept viable cabling routes exist. cultural heritage & protect nature Kinross and tourism. ‰ 4 Planning Authorities (PAs) plus CNPA Glen Quaich & 17. Braco & ‰ Scottish Ministers agreed to a Public Muthill Inquiry which took place throughout 2007. Power Falkirk ‰ Inquiry Report to be submitted in 2008 & Denny decision due in 2009. Scotland: Beauly – Denny 400kV line ‰ Application for 220km 400/275kV OHL TSO Beauly PA area from Beauly to Denny submitted to Scottish area Ministers in October 2005 by transmission Highland Council divisions of Scottish & Southern Energy & Scottish Power.000 groups/individuals objected. 18 . 3. Cairngorms National Park ‰ Significant opposition from a variety of SSE groups wanting partial cable solution (in 5 areas) to safeguard health. preserve visual Perth & amenity.

Italy: The Turbigo-Rho 400 kV Project Power station 2560 MW Overhead line 380 kV Existing OHL 380 kV Milan Underground cable 380 kV County borders Transition stations 19 . 4.

power rating of the • To overcome the generation limits of the Turbigo power circuit is 2. Benefits of the project: The max. station and reduce congestion • To improve voltage control in the Milan area • To reduce transmission losses 20 . The line was Until 2004 OHL approval blocked necessary for the June 2004 Decision on partial undergrounding reinforcement of the March 2005 Construction of cable (8 months) transmission grid in a very June 2006 Activation of the line/cable congested area avoiding the risk of future blackouts. Italy: the Turbigo-Rho 400 kV Project The undergrounding of part of Timeline: 40 km long line led to the 1991 Start of discussions speeding up of authorization 1994 Initial approval of overhead line procedures. 4.2 GVA.

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Number of EHV Cable Installations Globally 1994.2005 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 94-95 96-97 98-99 00-01 02-03 04-05 * Projects started 22 . 5.

Length of km of EHV underground cable 220-400kV: 1996.2006 1996 2006 Change % Austria 48 59 23 Denmark 31 52 68 France 600 914 52 Germany 99 110 11 Ireland 64 106 66 Italy 130 231 78 Netherlands 6 12. 6.5 108 Spain 31 558 1700 UK 553 662 20 Source: CIGRE 338 December 2007 23 .

7.5 2004/5 Milan Section of Turbigo-Rho line 2x8. 1x22 1996/9 Berlin Connect West/East systems 2x12 1996-00 Vale of York (UK) Area of outstanding beauty 4x6 2000/1 Madrid Barajas Airport expansion 2x13 2002/3 Jutland. 2x14 2002/3 waterway & semi urban areas London London Ring 1x20 2002/5 Rotterdam Randstad “ring” waterway crossings 2x2.5 2005/6 24 . DK Area of outstanding beauty. Examples of major 400kV projects in Europe Location Project Cable circuits Time x period Length (km) Copenhagen Elimination of OHLs in urban area 1x12.1 2004/5 Vienna Provide power to centre of city 2x5.

‰ Costs for underground cables can de reduced to a multiple of 2 .5 times when the whole life-cycle cost is assessed. 25 . Discussion ‰ The completion of the European internal electricity grid is of fundamental importance: ‰ To stabilize the European electricity grid ‰ To create extra transmission capacities (to cover new power stations as well as renewable energies) ‰ XLPE cables are a modern. – Areas where land is unavailable or planning consent is difficult to obtain within an acceptable timeframe. reliable transmission technology. ‰ Partial undergrounding is an alternative for: – Land with outstanding natural or environmental heritage or vulnerable eco-systems. IV. ‰ Europacable believes that extra high voltage underground cables are rarely appropriate for an entire new AC power transmission project.

europacable.com .OVERVIEW OF UNDERGROUND POWER CABLES AT HIGH/EXTRA HIGH VOLTAGE LEVELS 2008 www.