Cable Guy

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime project for me,” says Project Director Bjørn Sanden. He is the one who will ensure that the subsea cable between Norway and Germany becomes a reality.

Just before Christmas, a deal was signed for a very special cable project. Statnett, KfW and TenneT TSO GmbH will cooperate on the development, construction and operation of a 1400-MW subsea cable between Norway and Germany. Bjørn Sanden took over as Statnett's Project Director  from 1 February this year.

“This is a mega project. I feel very humble when I think about the complexity of the project,” says Sanden.

The project is currently in the first of a total of three phases: the development phase, the implementation phase and the operating phase.

“So much good work has been done on this project over the years, but after we signed the partnership agreements just before Christmas the project has really taken off. Now we have started working on a part of the development phase which includes submission of licence applications, discussions with suppliers and establishing a well-functioning team,” Sanden says.

Among other tasks, his job is to ensure that the project is implemented without any HSE incidents and at the right time, price and quality.

Big dimensions

Sanden has worked with cables all his working life. After completing a degree in engineering in Scotland, he went on to do a PhD in Electric Power Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), focusing on cable technology. Here he was also employed as associate professor, before spending ten years with the  cable manufacturer Nexans Norge. He was employed by Statnett in 2010.

“It’s probably coincidental that I have worked with cables for my whole working life, but I haven’t regretted it for a second.”

Sanden makes no secret of the fact that he is therefore extra pleased with the task of managing the cable project between Norway and Germany, a project with an estimated investment totalling EUR 1.5 – 2 billion.

“In addition to being a huge construction project, it is also a project of major commercial, international and political dimensions. That makes it even more exciting,” he says.

Keen involvement

The decision on whether to actually implement the project will not be made until 2014. However, Sanden is convinced that the project will be realised.

“There is such keen involvement for this to happen that I’m sure that it will. We have to believe in the project, or there is no point working on it,” Sanden says.

The decisive driver for whether Statnett will realise the project, is that it must be socio-economically viable. Moreover, it will help facilitate renewable energy, ensure sound use of resources and strengthen security of supply.