11 Mar 2021

Liphook, Hampshire, UK: Intertek, a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, has delivered a Permit Feasibility Study to Xlinks using their expertise in offshore permitting of subsea cables. Xlinks is developing the world's longest subsea cable between the UK and Morocco, which will transit through the territorial waters of France, Spain and Portugal. Upon completion, the subsea cable, made up of two 3,850km rigid bipole HVDC systems with a total operational capacity of 3,600 MW, will provide the entire UK with a unique sustainable solar power source all the way from the Sahara.

The Permit Feasibility Study was completed through a comprehensive consultation process with the relevant authorities in each of the transit countries. Intertek’s final report outlines in detail the process Xlinks must follow to obtain the permits to survey the proposed route, install the cable system and complete the necessary maintenance throughout the project's operation life. During the study a complete end-to-end assessment of the relevant regulations was undertaken and possible factors outside of the regulatory framework which were assessed as potential issues were also explored.

Potential environmental impacts assessed for subsea cable projects are largely associated with the installation phase. Once the cable is installed, any ongoing impacts are considered minor, for example in the rare case of a cable repair. The level of impact during installation will depend on the sensitivity of the marine environment through which the cable passes. Major impacts can be avoided through careful project planning and preparation, including robust marine survey and routing the cable around constraints such as sensitive marine habitats. Where potential impacts are identified, these are reduced to as low as reasonably practicable through application of appropriate mitigation measures, in consultation with statutory authorities and project stakeholders. Xlinks is committed to the delivery of an environmental impact assessment which meets the requirements of all local regulations and to active engagement with relevant stakeholders in all jurisdictions.

Beth Monkman, Intertek Project Manager, commented: “Intertek’s Energy & Water team brings a wealth of technical expertise and experience in the environmental assessment of marine cable projects. We are delighted to have supported Xlinks with the initial feasibility study for this exciting project.”

Intertek’s global offshore project experience encompasses numerous industries and includes the planning, permitting and construction oversight of offshore renewables projects as well as power transmission and telecommunication cables. Our many services include site selection and characterization, feasibility studies, survey and installation oversight, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and scoping studies, metocean assessments, and risk management for a variety of offshore developments. Learn more about these Intertek services by visiting: www.intertek.com/wind-wave-tidal/offshore-consulting/

For Technical Information

Please contact:
Beth Monkman
E: Beth.Monkman@intertek.com

For Market Information

Please contact:
Niki Schroeder
E: Niki.Schroeder@intertek.com

About Intertek

Intertek is a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide. Our network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices in more than 100 countries delivers innovative and bespoke Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification solutions for our customers' operations and supply chains. Intertek Total Quality Assurance expertise, delivered consistently with precision, pace and passion, enabling our customers to power ahead safely.