Italian company Prysmian Group has begun manufacturing some 725km of submarine cables for the €2.8bn 'NeuConnect' interconnector, which will create the first direct link between the UK and German energy markets and allow the two countries to export surplus energy from wind and other renewable sources with up to 1.4GW of surplus electricity in both directions between the two countries, enough to power up to 1.5 million homes.
Miguel Berger, German Ambassador to the UK, said: "As a champion of offshore wind, the UK is a crucial partner for us in pursuing our common goals. NeuConnect will enable our energy networks to share excess power - ensuring that renewable energy is not wasted."
It will link the Isle of Grain in Kent, England, to the Wilhelmshaven area of Germany, using high voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine cables laid in British, Dutch and German waters.
"When live, NeuConnect will open up new opportunities for the UK to export clean, cheaper renewable energy and reduce our exposure to the volatility of global fossil fuel prices."
Construction work on the link is expected to begin this year and be completed in 2028.
In April this year, NeuConnect appointed Siemens Energy to design and build converter stations in the UK and Germany.
The scheme is privately financed, with more than 20 international lenders reaching financial close on the deal in July. The investors are led by France's Meridiam, Germany's Allianz Capital Partners and Japan's Kansai Electric Power.
Project and commercial management will be provided by the consultant Arup and the engineering company Fichtner.