At 770 kilometres in length and spanning from Denmark to the UK, Viking Link will become the world’s longest high-voltage direct current electricity link upon completion, with all interior and exterior earthing systems provided by Danish company Electricon A/S. This will include a partnership with Elpress A/S.
The Viking Link interconnector between Denmark and the UK will be commissioned in 2023. When it comes into use, it will be the longest direct current electricity link in the world to date. It will also be known as the green electricity motorway given its role in connecting the two countries to allow for the import and export of green energy from sources including large offshore wind farms.
Energinet, the national transmission system operator in Denmark, has worked in partnership with the UK’s National Grid to develop the 770-kilometre electricity link. This ambitious project has seen Energinet collaborate with Electricon, who are in turn cooperating with Elpress A/S.
For Electricon, this is a task of some magnitude which demands great partners to ensure its delivery.
“Our task is to manufacture all interior and exterior earthing systems, including depth electrodes, system gates for earths and foundations, and internal potential equalisation. Additionally, there is the need to provide substations with lightning protection,” explains Nicklas Gorecki, Electricon’s Project Manager.
In his seven years in the industry, he has never before seen such extensive volumes of earthing systems and internal equalisers used in a project as is the case for Viking Link.
“So far, we have spent around one year on this, and we expect to spend at least another six months on this with a crew of five-to-ten people working at any one time. At the same time, this is a very ambitious project with some tough requirements. Energinet’s requirement for a huge high voltage system with significant demands in terms of potential equalisation and earthing systems has been a challenge,” says Electricon’s Project Manager.
He adds that the company always uses C-sleeves and cable lugs provided by Elpress.
“So far, we’ve used in the region of 10,000 C-sleeves and cable lugs in 95, 150 and 240 mm2 sizes from Elpress, and in addition to that there are 23,195 metres of copper cabling and 4,000 metre of copper rails for use in different areas,” says Nicklas Gorecki.
As part of the current Viking Link project, Electricon is purchasing these products from Elpress via Lemvigh-Müller. Large volumes are being ordered on each occasion, while there have been problems relating to raw materials over the last couple of years due to global supply chain issues.
“Yet there’s not been a single delay to deliveries. The leads time that Elpress promise to Lemvigh-Müller are being met,” says Nicklas Gorecki.
He adds that the Elpress tools they have been working with have done exactly what they are supposed to. This has meant there have been very few operational issues, and those that have been encountered have been rapidly resolved.
One of three specialist firms
Electricon is just one of three specialist providers in Denmark offering earthing systems and lightning protection, potential equalisation, and overvoltage protection. The company has around 30 employees based in Copenhagen and Ikast, in addition to small project teams working on site up and Jutland. It has a wide customer base, and beyond its technical services it also provides consultancy, audit and maintenance services.
The company manages the training and quality assurance of its own resources to ensure the necessary expertise is on hand.
“There’s no qualification available in Denmark to become and earthing and lightning protection specialist, so we handle all delivery of training,” explains Nicklas Gorecki.
“Our staff are often trained electricians, but blacksmiths, carpenters and mechanics also all have the potential to succeed. We invest in and educate our team to ensure they are always fully equipped for every task, including those that are particularly demanding or bespoke in nature,” says Electricon’s Project Manager.
Right now, the extensive and exciting Viking Link project is one of their customers. This will provide a contribution to the green transition with its substations, 76 kilometres of onshore cable and 625 kilometres of offshore cable across the bed of the North Sea.