Enemalta starts excavation of new Marsa-Qormi tunnel


Enemalta plc started the excavation of a 1.8 kilometre tunnel to connect its new distribution centre at Marsa to the 132 kV electricity distribution network and further improve the quality of its electricity services to customers in several nearby localities.

The Marsa North Distribution Centre is replacing a crucial node of the country’s electricity network, currently incorporated within the Marsa Power Station. Once the distribution centre is commissioned, the existing distribution equipment at the Power Station can be removed along with the power plants, which were switched off to be dismantled last year. The distribution centre also forms part of Enemalta’s Network Reinforcement Project, a multi-million investment to consolidate the country’s electricity grid through six new distribution centres and several other upgrades across Malta and Gozo.

Enemalta started building the Marsa North Distribution Centre in summer 2015 and construction works were completed last month. The Company’s engineers and technicians are currently overseeing the installation of its equipment, including new switchgear and other related control and protection systems. Later this year, all high voltage cables currently routed through the Marsa Power Station will be shifted to the new distribution centre, which will receive electricity from other nearby network nodes. An underground walk-through culvert from the Marsa Menqa area to the Marsa Power Station site is being built for these cables. This culvert will enable easier access to the cables for maintenance and repairs, which would otherwise necessitate trenching and road closures.

At the same time, the Company’s contractors have now also commenced the second phase of the new distribution centre to connect it to the 132 kV distribution network. This phase is starting with the excavation of a tunnel from the distribution centre’s site at Marsa to link with an existing electricity distribution tunnel at Qormi. It also includes the installation of 132/33 kV transformers and shunt reactors at the distribution centre and the laying of over 10 kilometres of 132 kV cables through the new tunnel. The development of the 5-metre diameter tunnel will continue until 2017.

The high voltage cables through the tunnel will link the Marsa North Distribution Centre to the 132 kV network, which currently extends from the Delimara Power Station to the Marsa South Distribution Centre, the Mosta Distribution Centre, the Kappara Distribution Centre and the Malta-Italy Interconnector Terminal at Maghtab. Through this development the Marsa North Distribution Centre will provide the Maltese electricity grid with increased redundancy and flexibility to reduce the risk of electricity supply disruptions to customers, whilst enabling Enemalta to provide a quicker response in case of emergencies or other network difficulties.

The €80 million Network Reinforcement Project is one of the biggest network upgrades in the history of electricity distribution in Malta. Besides six new distribution centres at Xewkija, Mrieħel, Manoel Island, St Andrew’s, Marsa and Ricasoli, the Company is also re-developing and extending another two distribution centres at Mellieha and Santa Venera. Almost 100 kilometres of new high voltage cable connections are also being added to further increase network capacity and flexibility.

Inġ. Fredrick Azzopardi, Enemalta plc Executive Chairman, explained that these investments are being carried out through the Company’s own resources, without increasing the Company’s debts. “The transformational process of Enemalta into a long-term financially-sustainable entity is not simply an accounting exercise – it involves the establishment of a Company that is efficient, customer-centric and capable of generating the necessary financial resources to meet current and future electricity demand whilst maintaining continuous improvement programmes at all operational levels without relying on government support. Enemalta is committed to this transformation to continue enhancing the quality of service to its customers in Malta and Gozo.”

The excavation of the new Marsa – Qormi tunnel.

The excavation of the new Marsa – Qormi tunnel.

The Marsa North Distribution Centre site in October 2014

Communications Office