CEEQUAL Excellent Sustainability rating (86.1%) – Strategy & Interim Design Award
Version 6, April 2021| Lincolnshire, UK and Jutland, Denmark
Assessors: Jess Lewington, Siemens Energy Ltd
Verifier: Andrew Swain, Future Green
Client: Viking Link
Viking Link is a 1400MW high voltage direct current (DC) electricity link between the British and Danish transmission systems connecting at Bicker Fen substation in Lincolnshire and Revsing substation in southern Jutland, Denmark.
The project will involve:
- Construction of a converter station in each country
- Installation of submarine and underground cables between each converter station
- Underground cables between the converter station and substation in each country
Viking Link will be approximately 760km long and will enable electricity exchange between Great Britain and Denmark. The interconnector will enable more effective use of renewable energy, access to sustainable electricity generation and improved security of electricity supplies. It will also provide socioeconomic benefits to both countries.
This assessment covers the scope of the construction of a new 2.8 km long access road, providing access to the converter station from the existing public highway network (A52). This includes:
- A new junction with the A52
- A new bridge crossing the Hammond Beck
- Culvert crossings of other drains
- A new junction with North Ing Drove.
The access road will be up to 6m wide enabling two-way traffic flow and is designed to accommodate Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and Abnormal Indivisible Loads (AILs). The construction of this access road is designated as a sub-project of the main Viking Link project.
Why was CEEQUAL used?
Previous Siemens Energy interconnector projects have not applied for a CEEQUAL rating so Viking Link wanted to be the first project of this type to achieve this sustainability award.
Another driver was to learn from the access road phase of the project, in order to set a minimum standard for implementation of the CEEQUAL framework for the rest of the project.
Further, it was felt that by using CEEQUAL, it could be communicated to the public and local community that the Viking Link team is delivering a project that is sustainable to a recognised standard, whilst providing confidence to clients and end users that Siemens Energy is able to deliver sustainability-driven projects.
How did using CEEQUAL influence the project?
The use of CEEQUAL shaped many strategic decisions and considerations within the project, with project decisions considering not just costs but also sustainability and carbon reduction. CEEQUAL was influential in the following ways:
– Promoted the use of the hydrogen fuel cell
– Driver of sustainable ideas from the project team
– Promoted implementation of carbon saving measures
– Greater consideration given to the project’s environmental impact
– Assistance with LCA from a suitably qualified life cycle assessment practitioner
– Greater consideration of waste
– Procurement of more efficient plant machinery and equipment
– Implementation of long-term biodiversity strategy, compensating for small
amounts of hedgerow removal i.e. replanting of trees and landscaping post
Traffic interference and disruption to the local roads and residents was overcome through programme sequencing to construct the bridge in parallel with the access road, minimising duration of works and preventing vehicles from using local village roads for a long period.
COVID-limited staff and travel was overcome through new procedures such as testing, temperature checks and masks to allow works to continue.
Ecology constraints involving badgers and nesting birds were overcome through surveys and active badger management and mitigation, utilising the ecology calendar for nesting birds in hedgerow.
Archaeological surveys needing to be completed before construction was overcome through trial trenching and investigation works.
Achieving best practice and innovation
Soil management and reuse has been optimised following best practice guidance.
Lifecycle assessment is something which has not been completed on a Siemens Energy interconnector project; completing an LCA here will improve embodied carbon knowledge on similar interconnector projects.
A hydrogen fuel cell was used for off-grid power supply instead of a diesel generator. In operation, no carbon, NOx, SOx or particulate matter were emitted, and noise is significantly reduced in comparison to a diesel generator. This reduced CO2 by around 30 tonnes of CO2 over 8 months and reduced any negative impacts on health and the surrounding environment.
Benefits of using CEEQUAL
CEEQUAL provided a framework for the project, enabling sustainability and carbon considerations to be incorporated across the project and business. This ensured that sustainable practice was realised in the project and also helped to communicate the team’s commitment to sustainable outcomes to the wider community.
Thus far, the following metrics have been recorded:
- 30% reduction achieved in kgCO2 equivalent of embodied carbon emissions
- Re-used material use: 17,900 m3 of excavate materials
- 100% of total waste diverted from landfill
We are proud to have achieved a CEEQUAL rating of Excellent for the first interim assessment on the Viking Link project. This is evidence of our commitment to sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and making a positive impact on the local communities and environment where we operate. – Sarah Handley, Head of Environment Protection & Sustainability at Siemens Energy
We are proud to have achieved a CEEQUAL rating of Excellent for the first interim assessment on the Viking Link project. This is evidence of our commitment to sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and making a positive impact on the local communities and environment where we operate.
– Sarah Handley, Head of Environment Protection & Sustainability at Siemens Energy
Communities and Stakeholders
As a project team, Viking Link have carried out regular letter drops around the neighbouring houses and have provided a phone number that can be called for any project related queries, complaints etc. There are also regular community liaison groups which involve members of the project team and key stakeholders such as the local parish, district councils and ministers.
Additionally, there have been frequent communications with the IDB, Black Sluice to ensure that all drainage designs meet environmental standards. Landowners have also been notified of all works and the project team have spent a lot of time talking to the them and ensuring that they are happy.
Finally, Viking Link have good links with local schools and colleges, although the face-to-face activities were unable to go ahead due to COVID. The first post-Coronavirus STEM activity was carried out at Boston College in May 2021. There are plans for more to take place and Siemens Energy will be rolling out a virtual work experience programme.
Viking Link have achieved carbon reduction through reducing virgin material use. The design change of a v-ditch drain in replacement of a filter drain (also known as a French drain) reduced the need for 13,000m3 of stone capping, 28,600m2 of geocomposite, 13,000m3 of sand, 43 tonnes of “twinwall” piping and saved 529 tonnes of CO2.
Additionally, the Landowner has requested that the excavated sub-soil material from the V-Ditch excavations is retained on his land for re-use. This avoids the need to remove the excess material from site, providing sustainability benefits. The appropriate consenting has been sought to enable this measure.
17,900m3 of excavated soil has been reused throughout the project.
The completion of the lifecycle assessment is the first life cycle assessment completed for a Siemens Energy project. This will give the company a baseline for further interconnector projects.
Viking link have procured a hydrogen fuel cell to provide zero-emissions power for the welfare facilities during construction of the Access Road. GeoPura leased a 250kW, zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell powered industrial electrical power unit for 8 calendar months. This fuel cell was integrated with a combined heat and power (CHP) unit to utilise the by-product of hot water in drying rooms, kitchens, and toilets. This measure has removed all harmful emissions and noise from the construction site and has saved around 30 tonnes of CO2.
The Viking Link team are proud to have achieved a CEEQUAL rating of Excellent for the first interim assessment. We will continue to follow the CEEQUAL framework to reduce our impact on the local community and environment. – Mike Elmer, Project Director of Viking Link
The Viking Link team are proud to have achieved a CEEQUAL rating of Excellent for the first interim assessment. We will continue to follow the CEEQUAL framework to reduce our impact on the local community and environment.
– Mike Elmer, Project Director of Viking Link
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