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Eurotunnel and GE Partner to Increase Traffic in France/UK Channel Tunnel

Eurotunnel and GE to Increase Traffic in France/UK Channel Tunnel
  • GE to supply the largest STATCOM1 load balancer connected to a catenary traction system2
  • Solution will enable almost double the traffic in Channel Tunnel
  • The project is expected to be complete by end of 2019

FRANCE, March 22, 2018: Eurotunnel has awarded GE Power’s Grid Solutions (NYSE: GE) a contract to supply a Static Synchronous Compensator (STATCOM), to improve the stabilization of power supply on the catenary traction system of the Channel Tunnel. The new system will be stationed in Folkestone, Kent. Once complete, this project will be the world’s largest STATCOM application connected to a catenary traction system.

With more than 4.2 million vehicles and 20 million passengers crossing the Channel through the Tunnel each year, Eurotunnel is recognized as the world’s leading and busiest rolling motorway, With almost 400 trains per day and traffic forecast to increase significantly within the next few years, Eurotunnel needs to increase the power and stability of its network to ensure a constant flow of traffic and in particular to meet peak demand, when eight trains are running simultaneously inside the Channel Tunnel.

Michel Boudoussier, Chief Corporate Officer at Getlink commented “Our choice to go with GE’s’ STATCOM will put Eurotunnel at the forefront of electrical regulation technology for new generation trains (Velaro). It will also enable us to continue to purchase electricity where it is least expensive.

GE Power’s Grid Solutions will custom design and supply the entire STATCOM system, which will provide Eurotunnel with reactive power compensation and an improved range of operational voltage, leading to faster response times. Additionally, this technology has a smaller physical footprint than traditional SVC3 systems. STATCOM is a flexible solution which will help Eurotunnel navigate a highly dynamic grid and ensure optimal performance of their assets.

“Providing a stable and consistent flow of electricity to this vital link is critical. We are excited to help upgrade the traction network for the Channel Tunnel to ensure that millions of passengers continue to travel safely and efficiently between the UK and France,” said Rajendra Iyer, GE Power’s Grid Solutions FACTS & HVDC General Manager. “GE’s STATCOM technology is the prime solution to ensure power stability in the Tunnel and help navigate the complex environment that our customers are facing today.”

1 STATCOM = Static Synchronous Compensator, technology allowing voltage stability, power transfer capability and reactive power balance in a grid
2 Catenary traction system = set of conductors located above the tracks, which feeds electricity to the trains
3 SVC = Static Var Compensation, technology used since the early 1970s, reliable means of controlling voltage over transmission lines and improving network dynamic stability while increasing power transfer capability.