Increasing security of electricity supplies for both the UK and France.

HVAC Cable

IFA2 is in the process of installing six HVAC cables between Monk's Hill Beach and Chilling. This work has been progressing well, and we have now laid 5 of 6 cables.

We are now pausing the cable laying work between 9 August 2019 and 17 August 2019 to avoid the risk of causing disruption during Cowes Week. We will begin laying the sixth and final HVAC cable again on 18 August 2019.

What are we doing in the next three months?

  • The C57 Red Squirrel jack-up barge, is in position in the intertidal area off Monks Hill Beach. The working area for the barge is marked by buoys and is patrolled by safety vessels for your protection; please avoid this active working area.
  • The NP 289 barge is laying HVAC cables between Chilling and Monks Hill beach. We expect to complete all six cable installations by the end of August.
  • The HVAC cable lay includes a pull-in process at Monks Hill Beach which we expect to take place from the middle of next week, depending upon weather conditions. The pull-in involves floating cable supported by clearly visible orange floats from the NP 289 barge onto the water. The cable is floated from the barge to the shore at Monks Hill Beach where it is pulled into the prepared cable ducts. Additional safety boats will be on the water for the duration of this work to help divert marine users from the floating cable.
  • Once we have laid the HVAC cables, our HVAC burial vessel JIF ARTEMIS will begin to bury them beneath the seabed. We expect this work to last until November.
  • Our support vessel, GREEN QUEST, will be in the area assisting JIF ARTEMIS.
  • Please be extra vigilant in this construction area during the installation period. We are very grateful for your patience and cooperation.

C57 Red Squirrel (with thanks to Ian Haskell for the image)

The NP 289



The current position of our HVAC vessels can be tracked using the tool below.

HVDC Cable

The HVDC cables linking the electricity transmission systems of Great Britain and France are an essential part of IFA2. We will carry out the work to lay these cables in 2019.

The cables will be buried in the seabed. We’ll install the cables using large specialist vessels which are able to transport and lay long sections of cables (up to 100 km). Some cable joints will need to be made at sea during the installation process.

The current position of the HVDC cable laying vessel, the Cable Enterprise, can be tracked using the tool below.

Cable Enterprise

What will happen in the next three months?

  • Our vessel, IEVOLI AMBER, will begin surveying the deep water area from the end of August. We will also make a pre-lay grapnel run of the area.
  • Starting in early September our survey vessel WESSEX EXPLORER will begin surveying the nearshore area. 
  • The AETHRA burial vessel will begin route clearance work at the end of September. 
  • We will begin nearshore pre-lay works from our vessel WILLENDEAVOUR at Lee-on-the-Solent in September. These works will take place up to 2km from the beach.
  • We expect to begin laying the HVDC cable in mid to late October.





Last updated: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Our fossil heritage revealed

See more »


  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019

    Our fossil heritage revealed

    Fossils estimated to be 40 to 45 million years old are being revealed on Monks Hill beach as IFA2 excavates cable ducts for the interconnector project to link the electricity transmission systems of GB and France.

    Fossils estimated to be 40 to 45 million years old are being revealed on Monks Hill beach as IFA2 excavates cable ducts for the interconnector project to link the electricity transmission systems of GB and France.

    The construction site on Monks Hill Beach has brought an unexpected benefit for local resident and amateur palaeontologist Linda Gardner.

    Linda, from Titchfield, has collected fossils around the world all her life. Monks Hill Beach is one of her favourite sites and she has had fossil finds there including shark, ray, swordfish, turtle and many more over the years.

    Linda brought her extensive fossil collection down to the beach to share with geological consultant Dr Andy King (from Geckoella Ltd) and Dr Dave Evans (from Natural England) who are overseeing the excavation works and who were able to share recent finds with her – including two excellently preserved fossil bivalve shells (called Venericor and Glycymeris), estimated to be 42 million years old.

    Linda said: “The excavation works are turning up material from depths below low tide that would otherwise be inaccessible. It’s a very exciting opportunity to find fossils that would otherwise never be discovered.”

    The excavations pass through clays and silts that represent the Bracklesham Formation. These were formed during the Eocene Period of geological time (56 to 33 million years ago) when mammals evolved from small, simple forms into a large group of diverse animals and the seas were full of marine life including sharks, rays, fish and a huge variety of shells.

    Dave Evans said: “This coast is a Site of Special Interest and is nationally important for its geology and fossils. Natural England wanted to ensure that the beach works provided an opportunity to gain more scientific information about the geology of this site fossils were recovered from the temporary excavations. These fossils and the accompanying data collected by Andy and his team will be deposited in museum collections and available for future research.”

    According to Andy, as part of the Geological Clerk of Works role, “arrangements are also being made during the excavation of the second trench in the autumn for local geologists such as Linda and the Tertiary Research Group to briefly visit the site. They will also have an opportunity to collect samples from a specially arranged rock pile located safely away from the main excavations”.  

    Read more »
  • Monday, June 10, 2019

    Lost WW2 aircraft lifted from sea after more than 75 years

    A WW2 plane which crashed into the sea more than 75 years ago has been lifted from the Solent.

    This week, specialist divers and archaeologists completed an operation to retrieve the wreckage of a 1943 Fairey Barracuda Torpedo Bomber (believed to be No. BV739) - just in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

    The three-seater plane, part of 810 Squadron Royal Navy Air Station, based at Lee-On-Solent is believed to have got into difficulty shortly after taking off for its test flight before crashing 500m from the coast in Portsmouth.

    The Barracuda wreckage is the only one to have ever been found in one piece and the last remaining aircraft of its kind in the UK.

    David Luetchford, Head of IFA2 for National Grid said: “Interconnectors are about bringing us closer to a zero-carbon future, but we must also respect the past. An important part of our job is to always have a thorough and sympathetic approach to archaeological finds. Over the course of the project we’ve inspected over 1,000 targets of interest, many of which were found to be unexploded ordnance, not unusual given the history of this location. However, to have found a 1943 Fairey Barracuda torpedo bomber is incredible and such a key piece of British history.

    It’s not every day you get the chance to play a role in an operation like this and it is very lucky to have found the plane in such a small search area. We surveyed a 180-metre-wide area along the cable route and if we had chosen a slightly different route, there is a good chance the plane would never have been found.”

    Work to fully retrieve the plane started on the 23rd May is expected to take around three weeks in total as experts from Wessex Archaeology are carefully excavating the area around the aircraft and removing large amounts of silt and clay.

    So far, both wings have successfully been lifted out of the waters and the remainder of the plane will be recovered by lifting it in sections over the coming days.

     “The recovery of the Fairey Barracuda will aid an ongoing Fleet Air Arm Museum project to recreate what will be the world’s only complete example of this type of aircraft. This will give us a chance to examine a unique lost piece of aviation history”.

    Once retrieved, the parts will be taken to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset where it will be studied and used to rebuild a full-size Barracuda in the site’s aircraft hangar.

    David Morris, Curator at The National Museum of the Royal Navy has been working on the project for several years and visited four other Barracuda crash sites to retrieve suitable parts.

    He said: “This is an incredible find and a wonderful piece of British history. There are very few blueprints of the Barracuda plane design available so this wreckage will be studied to enable us to see how the plane segments fitted together and how we can use some of the parts we currently have.

    “This find is a huge step forward for our project and we can’t wait to get it back to the museum and share our findings with the public.”

    The plane’s pilot has been named as SUB LNT DJ Williams who managed to escape the crash and survived WW2.

    Read more »
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019

    STEM makes a Big Bang!

    We were delighted to be one of forty businesses providing activities for 1000 young people at the STEM at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event in April. Our team worked with students throughout the day to explore and create electrical circuits.

    The IFA2 team at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event

    The IFA2 team at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event

    We were delighted to be one of forty businesses providing activities for 1000 young people at the STEM at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event in April. Our team worked with students throughout the day to explore and create electrical circuits.

    Jacquie Jones, EBP South Project Manager said ‘The Big Bang Solent is a hugely popular event with schools and businesses. With research showing that the STEM skills shortage costs UK businesses around £1.5 billion per year this is a proactive established event that allows businesses to upskill young people.’

    Jade Fuller, Project Manager of Employment and Skills at Solent LEP said ‘It is vital for employers and businesses to engage their future workforce and Big Bang @ Solent provides a great opportunity for them to do this. The Solent LEP is proud to sponsor events that enable young people to meet with organisations to ensure that they are aware of the future career pathways available to them.’

    The Big Bang @ Solent is organised by EBP South to inspire young people to explore the career opportunities and industries STEM can open up to them.

    Read more »