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LPG and electricity interconnector projects underway in the UK

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While the current pandemic has depressed many parts of the economy, the recent start-up of two UK energy infrastructure projects shows the energy industry continuing to develop.  

First, construction of National Grid’s Viking Link infrastructure project – which will become the world’s longest electricity interconnector – has begun.

The Viking Link Interconnector project – a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) link between the UK and Denmark – has commenced with Siemens Energy mobilising to site to start the construction of the first stage of works, a 2.4 km access road for the Bicker Fen, Lincolnshire, converter station.

Viking Link is a joint venture between National Grid Ventures and the Danish electricity system owner and operator, Energinet. The 1.4 GW interconnector will be the longest in the world when completed, stretching 765 km subsea and onshore to connect Bicker Fen in the UK to Revsing in South Jutland, Denmark to enable clean energy to be shared.

Siemens Energy was appointed to construct the UK and Denmark converter stations at each end of the link. The permanent new road will take nine months to complete and will enable access for the major construction equipment to the converter station, and for operational vehicles to access the site once the station is completed in 2023.

Mike Elmer, Viking Link Project Director for National Grid Ventures said: ‘We’ve already completed the initial groundwork, with archeological and ecological surveys as well as water works studies. Viking Link will play a vital role in helping to decarbonise the UK’s power supply on the journey to a net zero carbon energy system, enabling access to a greener supply of electricity.’

Meanwhile, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplier Flogas Britain has started work on what will become the nation’s largest LPG storage terminal, with the capacity to store 34,500 tonnes.

The project involves conversion of the former National Grid LNG (liquefied natural gas) facility at Avonmouth, Bristol, to significantly increase Flogas’ LPG storage capability. This will provide greater security of supply to commercial and residential customers nationwide, says the company.

The Avonmouth facility is being converted for LPG storage by TGE Gas Engineering, as part of a £40m investment by Flogas Britain. Work now started on detailed design, with physical works expected to start on site in summer 2021 and full takeover planned for summer 2022. Once completed, the site will be filled, and operationally ready by the winter of 2022.

The new Avonmouth facility is in line with Flogas’ 2040 vision to build a lower carbon future for off-grid homes and businesses. The site will be ‘bio-ready’ from the outset, says the company, capable of storing bioLPG, a chemically-identical renewable alternative to LPG. As a ‘drop in’ fuel, bioLPG can be blended with or replace LPG, without the need for changes to infrastructure, boilers or equipment.

Site work begins at the UK end of the Viking Link interconnector. Photo: National Grid

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