Prysmian has been awarded by Terna Spa Rete Elettrica Nazionale a major contract to develop the new Extra High Voltage submarine power link between Sicily and the Italian mainland, an interconnection of strategic importance for the development of the entire national power grid. The Prysmian contract, which is worth Euro 300 million for the supply of a "turn key" cable system, involves engineering, manufacturing, installation and commissioning of two 380 kV alternate current cable circuits between the Villafranca Tirrena (Sicily) and Scilla (Calabria) power stations.
The total power transmission capacity of the new link will be 2,000 MW and will enhance the current 380 kV alternate current 1,000 MW link that already connects the power grids of Sicily and Calabria across the Strait of Messina, which was installed in 1984 by the same company, then known as Pirelli Cables. This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
The new link and all of the related works will make the Sicilian power grid's connection with the mainland's more secure by making energy exchanges easier with consequent and evident benefits in terms of reducing constraints on electricity market operators and of stimulating competition. The new link is also particularly important as it will foster the development of power generation from local renewable sources.
"We are proud to be making the experience and know-how of our Group, a worldwide leader in this sector, available to an enterprise of such strategic importance for the country," stated Valerio Battista, Prysmian's Chief Executive Officer. "The SA.PE.I. link between Sardinia and the Italian mainland was the first time ever we installed a power transmission cable at a depth of more than 1,600 m. Now we are ready to develop a project, which is among the most technologically complex ever carried out in view of the particular geography of the area concerned. I would also like to underline that the submarine cable will be manufactured in Italy, at our Arco Felice plant, which is a centre of worldwide excellence in the sector and a source of pride within our Group."
The cable will run approximately 38 km underwater and 5.4 km on land, of which 2 km in Sicily and 3.4 km in Calabria. The system, comprising more than 260 km of cable in total, will consist of single core cables of different types and cross-sectional areas depending on the installation conditions along both the submarine and land routes. Prysmian will install the submarine cable with its own cable ship, the Giulio Verne. Given the large number of cables and their length, the installation will be split into several stages.
Prysmian is also currently involved in other important submarine power link projects such as SAPEI (Italy), COMETA (Spain), Doha Bay (Qatar) and GCCIA (Bahrain), and TransBay (USA), in addition to various submarine links serving off-shore wind farms in Northern Europe, including two of the world's biggest parks now under construction: Greater Gabbard and Thanet.