Laying cables to bring power from its 270MW offshore Lincs wind farm to land on the east coast of England posed a challenge after attempts to use a drilling technique under sea defences were unsuccessful in 2010.
Much of the terrain the cables would cross is environmentally sensitive salt marsh. After talks with the environment body Natural England, Centrica eventually used specialized trenching equipment to install cables under the protected salt marsh and a sea defence.
During summer 2011, a specially designed trenching machine was used which exerts low ground pressure. The first cable was buried several metres beneath the seabed to a point 8km from the shore for connection to one of two cables coming from the wind farm.
Subject to final consents from the relevant authorities, Centrica plans to lay a second cable, applying what it has learned during the first installation. A plan has also been agreed to monitor the immediate and long-term environmental impact, and to study the recovery of the salt marsh over the coming years.
Early engagement is critical to understand environmental impacts and stakeholder concerns. Innovative technology solutions can minimize the impact on environment and climate.