Enemalta has completed the excavation of a 4.65 kilometre tunnel, from Maghtab to Pembroke, to improve electricity distribution in this area.

The tunnel forms part of the Malta-Sicily interconnector project and is also an important element of another Enemalta project to consolidate the national electricity grid.

132kV cables from the interconnector’s Maghtab terminal will be channelled through this tunnel to connect to the national grid via the new 132kV Distribution Centre at Kappara, as well as to a new distribution centre currently under construction at Pembroke.

Through this investment, Enemalta aims to improve electricity distribution in Msida, Gzira, Sliema, St. Julian’s, Swieqi, San Gwann and other nearby areas.

Excavation works started in 2012 at Maghtab and continued until a few days ago when the miners successfully reached the tunnel’s exit point at Pembroke, a few metres away from the distribution centre site. The tunnel is four metres wide and lies between 10 to 115 metres beneath ground level.

Polidano Group, the company contracted for these works excavated the tunnel using a tunnel boring machine, a specialised excavator which had never been used in Malta before.

This machinery is capable of excavating an average of eight metres a day, up to a maximum of 30 metres, depending on geological features.

Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, along with Enemalta and Polidano Group officials, welcomed the miners as soon as they broke through the surface at Pembroke. They thanked the workers and discussed the challenges encountered during this operation.

The development of electricity distribution tunnels started in Malta in 1996, to reinforce the national electricity grid with a new 132kV network and to provide for the country’s future energy requirements.

Enemalta currently operates over 23 kilometres of tunnels, leading from the two power stations at Marsa and Delimara to several distribution centres in different regions in Malta.

The laying of high voltage cables through tunnels is a much more efficient solution to placing them in trenches at street level.

Cables in tunnels cannot be accidentally damaged during excavations or other related road works. Several cables can be passed through the same tunnel, at different times, without the inconvenience of having to dig up new trenches each time. Cables in tunnels are easier to monitor, maintain and repair.

These projects, together with other Enemalta initiatives, including the shift to a cleaner and more efficient energy mix, are crucial to the Corporation’s ongoing commitment to consolidate its generation and distribution services, in the best interest of its customers, the corporation said.

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