An international investment group has signed a €1.2bn ($1.3bn) deal with Italian contractor Prysmian to lay the NeuConnect UK-Germany interconnector, a 1.4GW submarine trunkline that will connect the two countries’ power grids for the first time.

The turnkey contract for the 725km high voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnector, which is being privately financed by a consortium led by Meridiam, Allianz Capital Partners and Kansai Electric Power, encompasses design, manufacturing, installation, testing and commissioning.

NeuConnect is slated for switch-on “in the second half of the decade”.

“When completed in the coming years, NeuConnect will join the world’s longest interconnectors,” said Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects at Prysmian. “Moreover, it is one of the first interconnectors to be financed through a project financing arrangement, demonstrating that the major infrastructure projects needed to deliver the sustainable energy goals in Europe are supported by private investment.”

NeuConnect will run between the UK converter station located on the Isle of Grain in Kent, passing through British, Dutch and German waters to a landing point in Lower Saxony in Germany and on a converter station near Wilhelmshaven.

The Prysmian power line, a 525kV HVDC design featuring mass-impregnated paper insulated cables, and includes fibre optic cables on the land and selected seabed sections, will be manufactured at its Arco Felice factory near Naples, Italy.

Offshore installation will mobilise three of the contractor’s cable laying vessels, including its newest vessel, Leonardo da Vinci, as well as Cable Enterprise, and Ulisse.

The Leonardo da Vinci, sailed out for a maiden job last year on the Viking Link line between the UK and Denmark, then longest in the world with about 620km underwater and 70km of land route, is one of fleet of next-generation cable-laying superships set to install the tens of thousands of kilometres of underwater interconnectors and offshore wind plant export and interarray cables, as the offshore energy market accelerates in its transition.