It was a real honour to be able to attend and take part in the energisation of the interconnector with National Grid UK at Solent Airport, Daedalus with Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng and MP
IFA2 is a 1,000 MW high voltage direct current (HVDC) electrical interconnector running for 149 miles between the British and French transmission systems. It will provide enough clean energy from France to power 1 million British homes, avoiding 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually equivalent to planting 50 million trees. IFA2 has been in construction since 2017. The number of man hours contributed to the project to date is 3,213,936.
The substation is at Chilling near Warsash. It is connected to the converter station at Solent Airport, Daedalus via underground cables running under the Solent and receives AC current into the grid.
While controversial at the planning stage this vital piece of infrastructure has been provided on time and within its £700m budget. The technology is absolutely cutting edge and the valve, DC and AC halls are a sight to behold as are the thyristors which switch the current between AC and DC.
One of the prerequisites for this project was that it shall have no adverse effect on airport operations. Thankfully that has been proven during the energisation process. There will also be a fantastic open space provided at Daedalus Common and a super children’s playground.