Staff Reporter
THE underwater electricity cables that are to be installed between Majorca and Ibiza will have to be buried to prevent them being damaged by the many fishing and recreation boats that often cross this stretch of water.

The electricity cable could be damaged by anchors and fishing nets if they are not buried. This has indeed happened to the cable that runs between Majorca and Minorca, even though drag nets are forbidden to be used in this stretch of water. “This cable has been badly damaged on two occasions. Between Majorca and Ibiza it would be worthwhile to have a restricted area of the channel, given the intense traffic by fishing and recreational boats alike,” explained Ernest Bonnín, GESA-Endesa project manager.

The seabed between Majorca and Ibiza is as much soft and sandy as it is hard and rocky. “With regards to soft areas, it will only be necessary to blast high-pressure water in order to create a ditch where the cable can be buried one to one and half metres deep. With the more harder and rockier areas of the seabed, a specialised underwater machine will have to dig a 20cm deep ditch where the cable will be placed and then covered with artificial rocks,” said Ernest Bonnín.

It is very likely that the electricity and gas company, GESA-Endesa, will be awarded the contract to install the electrical cables, although as of today this is still not official.

The electricity cable which will connect Majorca at Santa Ponsa to Ibiza town is hoped to be fully installed in 2007, although works could possibly spill over into 2008.

The cable will be 115 kilometres long and will reach a maximum depth of 750 metres. At one section the cable will have to cross the gas pipe that connects Sant Joan de Déu (Majorca) with Sant Antoni de Portmany (Ibiza). For this reason the company awarded the gas pipe contract, Enagás, will have to meet with the respective electrical installation company in order to talk about technical solutions regarding this underground crossing.

There are two types of cables to choose from; a three-phase cable with alternating electrical connection, or two cables with continuous electrical connection. Ernest Bonnín says that “both types of cables are safe and guaranteed to work. “There is no significant difference between the two types with reference to performance qualities. However, it is more probable that the three-phase cable will be installed, as it is cheaper.”

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