• AQUIND to consult on preferred converter station location in Lovedean as part of proposals for new interconnector

Following an extensive review of the options, AQUIND Limited has recently announced it will consult on a single, preferred location for the new converter station required as part of its proposals for AQUIND Interconnector – a new marine and underground electricity transmission link between the south coast of England and France.

The interconnector developer has said that, as part of the formal consultation on its application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build the project, it will present its preferred “western option” to the local community at consultation events due to take place in the coming months.

The preferred site, which comprises land adjacent to Old Mill Lane to the west of the existing National Grid substation in Lovedean, would be used to site a new converter station to convert electricity transmitted by AQUIND Interconnector from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) and vice versa. AC is used for transmitting electricity in Great Britain’s and France’s electricity grids, while DC, which is more efficient over large distances, is used for sending electricity along the marine and underground cables.

AQUIND previously presented two potential converter station locations at consultation events in January 2018, including an alternative to the south of the existing Lovedean substation.

A review of the feedback received revealed that the western option was favoured by those from the local community. AQUIND has said the selection of this site as its preferred option was also based on a number of technical and environmental factors, including surveys.

The new converter station will comprise a mix of buildings and outdoor electrical equipment, with the outdoor equipment being similar in nature to the equipment at the neighbouring Lovedean substation.

The local community will be given the opportunity to view and provide feedback on the converter station design proposals and associated underground and marine cable route at a series of consultation events in early 2019, before an application for a DCO is finalised and submitted.

AQUIND will also consult on a range of issues and mitigation, including its proposed approach to construction and traffic management, to ensure these effects are minimised for local residents.

Following the announcement, a spokesperson for AQUIND commented:

“The selection of a preferred converter station location represents an important milestone in a process which began in 2016 when National Grid identified Lovedean substation as the optimal connection point for AQUIND Interconnector into the existing electricity grid.

“We have listened closely to the views of the local community and, having considered the results of a wide range of technical studies, have identified the site to the west of the existing substation as the most appropriate location for the converter station for AQUIND Interconnector.

“We now look forward to discussing our design proposals for the new converter station with the local community and stakeholders during our formal consultation, before we submit an application for a DCO.

“The feedback received during the consultation will play an important role in refining the design of the converter station and help ensure the building fits as sensitively as possible into its surroundings.”

The local community can discover more about AQUIND Interconnector and stay up-to-date regarding future consultation at www.aquindconsultation.co.uk, via the project’s freephone information line on 01962 893869 or via email at aquindconsultation@becg.com.