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History and Development of the Moyle Interconnector

Moyle Interconnecor cable landingElectrical interconnection between Northern Ireland and Scotland had been considered for more than thirty years before the Moyle Interconnector project began in 1990. Early studies had established that direct current (DC) interconnection would be superior to the alternating current (AC) alternative both technically and economically and this was confirmed in subsequent feasibility studies.

A Norwegian Diver takes a break during the installation of the Moyle InterconnectorThe study carried out in 1990, which included the first seabed survey, led to the signing of the initial interconnector agreement between Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) and Scottish Power. Following a protracted planning process, including Public Inquires in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the last of the main consents was granted in 1998 with detailed planning permission for the converter stations following in 2000.

Key Dates
1990 First Seabed Survey
1991 Initial interconnector agreement between Northern Ireland Electricity and Scottish Power
1993 Applications made in Northern Ireland and Scotland for consent for the converter stations, cables and overhead lines.
1994 Consent granted for installation of undersea cables by the Department of Transport.
1994/1995 Public enquiries held in Scotland and Northern Ireland
1997 Consent granted for overhead line construction.
1998 Outline planning permission for converter station on Islandmagee granted
1999 Contract awarded to Siemens for construction of converter stations.
Contract awarded to Nexans for submarine and underground cables.
2000 Detailed planning permission granted for converter stations
Scottish overhead line contract awarded to Balfour Beatty
2001 Construction & Testing
2002 Full Operation


The configuration of the Moyle Interconnector was chosen to provide the high reliability required of a link that was expected to be the equal largest infeed to the Irish electricity system for many years. Implementation involved the construction of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter stations of 2x250MW dual monopole design in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the installation of an underground and submarine DC cable system consisting of two separate 250 MW cables running the 63km route length between the stations and the construction of 64km of 275kV AC overhead line in Scotland.

Nexans Cable - Moyle Interconnector cross section

Cross Section of the Nexans Cable

In 1999, Moyle Interconnector Limited (Moyle), was established within Viridian Group PLC to construct the link. At the end of that year, Moyle awarded two turnkey contracts for the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of the major elements of the interconnector. Nexans Norway AS was the supplier of the cable systems, while Siemens plc provided the converter stations connected to the transmission systems in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In 2000, Scottish Power awarded the contract for construction of 64km of 275kV single circuit overhead line from their existing Coylton substation to Moyle's converter station at Auchencrosh. Balfour Beatty was the contractor.

Manufacture and construction took place during 2000 and 2001. The Moyle Interconnector was commissioned in December 2001 and, after a trial operation period, began full commercial operation in April 2002.






Last Updated: 23rd June 2006