Energy Cables: Powering a Changing World

Extra High Voltage AC Cables – Enabling Europe’s Grid Extensions

Cross linked polyethylene cables (EHV XLPE Cables) are the core technology to underground Extra High Voltage (EHV) power transmission lines (AC 220 kV – 400 kV).

XLPE Cables have a proven track record. In Europe alone:

  • Over 1,100 km of 220kV cables have been installed for over 20 years and
  • Around 200 km of 400 kV cables have been in use over 14 years.

EHV XLPE cables are recognised as a technology that performs well based on the requirements established by the International Standard IEC 62067.

When deployed in the Partial Undergrounding Concept complementing overhead lines, 380 kV AC Cables offer reliable, sustainable, affordable and publicly acceptable innovative way of electricity transmission:

  • Reliable: Thoroughly tested, increasingly used, proven technology. Once in the ground, cables are well protected against any external weather influences.
  • Sustainable: Limited environmental impact during operation, apart from deep routing trees no restriction in agricultural use of the trenches, including farming.
  • Affordable: While investment costs for the undergrounded section are 5 -10 times the cost for that of covering the same stretch by overhead technology, costs for the entire line will only increase by smaller factor. At the same time, the line may be built quicker, with a limited visual impact and a lesser deprivation of property value along the line.
  • Publicly Acceptable: Any transmission line has an environmental impact, yet experience shows that public acceptance for partially undergrounded lines is higher than for overhead lines.

Detailed technical information on EHV XLPE cables can be found in the Joint Europacable / ENTSO-E Paper Feasibility and technical aspects of partial undergrounding of extra high voltage power transmission lines, published in January 2011 following an invitation by the European Commission. The study confirms that EHV XLPE cables are a technology that performs well and can be applied on a case by case basis in projects of vital interest for the development of the EU transmission network.

Click here to download study in English

Click here to download study in German