Staff Reporter
THE underwater electricity cables that are to stretch from Majorca to Ibiza could be tipped for Guinness Book of Records fame, said a spokesperson from the electricity and gas company Gesa-Endesa yesterday during a press conference.

The electricity cables will only be a Guinness Book of Records contender if the project uses three-phase cables with alternating electrical connection.
If, on the other hand, the underwater electricity cables are of a different type, specifically cables that have continuous electrical connection through two cables, then the project will only qualify as the first to be undertaken in Spain, said the Director of Balearic Planning and Network Quality at Gesa-Endesa, Joan Frau.

The electricity company has already begun its study into the construction methods of this infrastructure. Given that the cables will stretch 120 kilometres between the two Balearic Islands and be buried at a maximum depth of 700 metres the project “can be noted as one of the star projects in terms of research and development in the company” he added.

The studies that are being carried out by Gesa-Endesa and the technology advancements into this type of underwater connection, could mean that the cables will be up and running towards the end of 2007. These works could however spill over into 2008. It is forecasted that the electricity cable will connect Majorca at Santa Ponsa with Ibiza town.

Joan Frau recently took part in the congress organised by Barcelona Industrial Engineering College, at which he gave lectures, notably one on “Endesa and engineering”.

During his talk, he made comments on the different technological areas within the energy sector, for example producing electricity, transport and electrical distribution, as well as gas transportation and distribution.

He also paid special attention to environmental sustainability considerations.
In addition he talked about the new technologies that Gesa is using and which are currently available in the market, that will improve the quality of energy that is supplied to customers.

The 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 recreational boats that often cross this stretch of water.

The electricity cables could be damaged by anchors and fishing nets if they are not buried.
This 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 recreational and fishing boats alike”, explained Ernest Bonnín, Project Manager for Gesa-Endesa.

In terms of the two types of cables available to be used for this huge project, “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,” Bonnín added.

At one section the electricity cable will have to cross over the gas pipe that connects Sant Joan de Déu (Majorca) with Sant Antoni de Portmany (Ibiza).

For this reason, Gesa will have to meet with the company awarded the gas contract to talk about technical solutions.


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