Press Release - 23rd July 2012
At 1012 on Saturday 23rd June a fault occurred on the north cable of the Moyle Interconnector (pole 2) causing it to come off load. Testing has confirmed that the fault is located offshore, approximately 7km from the Scotland converter station. We continue to focus on pinpointing the exact fault location. The suspected area of the fault, a length of cable over 1 km long, is in 20 metres depth of water and therefore scuba diving to the seabed is feasible.
Whilst clearly unwelcome, this latest fault brings to four the number of similar cable faults experienced on the Moyle cables since September 2010. The number and nature of the faults is abnormal for underground cables and raises questions in relation to the future reliability of part of the cables. Although the full scientific analysis of the previous faults is not yet complete, in the knowledge of the fault history, we had begun to prepare for the eventuality of recurring faults, and had alerted key stakeholders, including the Utility Regulator of the need to consider an alternative approach. In order to avoid recurring and prolonged outages a more cost effective approach could involve replacing entirely the unreliable part of the cables by laying a standard backup support cable, work which would take a number of years to complete. In the meantime, we could reconfigure the cables to allow Moyle to operate reliably at half its full capacity. This is both more cost effective and returns the long term reliability to the cables.
The Moyle Interconnector continues to operate at 250MW transfer capacity (half the full capacity of the interconnector) and Mutual Energy remains totally focused on addressing the Moyle cable problems in the best interests of Northern Ireland consumers, and with the support and approval of the Utility Regulator.
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For further press & media information contact Sandra Bolan at Lagan Consulting
Tel: 028 9261 9550