The interconnection of Europe’s electricity grids is advancing rapidly with the start of cable laying operations for the first power link between Belgium and the U.K.
Nemo Link is a 50:50 joint venture between Belgian grid company Elia System Operator and the UK’s National Grid. The company said that the first 59-kilometre stretch at the UK has being laid by DeepOcean’s Maersk Connector vessel, which will install two 400-kilovolt, high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) XPLE cables. A milestone was reached recently when the cable was “successfully pulled-in at the beach of Pegwell Bay”, Elia said. The remaining 71 km of double subsea cable will be installed in Belgium territorial waters next spring and the link, which will allow for the sharing of up to 1,000 megawatts of power, will go live in 2019.
Elia Chief Executive Chris Peters said: “We are very excited that the project is progressing so well. Nemo Link, Elia’s first project with controllable direct current (HVDC), is another step towards further European integration of the electricity grid. A well-integrated electricity grid is for the benefit of the consumers and the general welfare, as it provides access to cheap, renewable energy anywhere in Europe and allows to export excess energy when necessary.”
John Pettigrew, chief executive officer of National Grid, added: “Reaching this milestone is a great achievement for the project team and a clear indication that the first ever power link between Belgium and the UK has moved a big step closer. We’re delighted to be working together with our Belgian partners to build a link that will deliver secure and sustainable electricity to customers in both countries for decades to come.”
The UK is also constructing interconnectors with France, Norway and Denmark. In April, contracts worth 620 million euro ($657 million) were awarded for the 1,000-MW IFA2 HVDC interconnection, a 240-km subsea cable across the English Channel that will link Tourbe in northern France to Chilling in Hampshire, in the south UK.
UK power link with Norway
The country is also in the middle of laying the world’s longest subsea power cable, which is rated at 1,400 MW, with Norway. The North Sea Network (NSN) is a joint venture between grid operators Statnett and National Grid and consists of two 714-km cables, which will come online in 2021. National Grid also signed an agreement with its Danish counterpart, Energinet.dk, to look into building the first Denmark-U.K. link.
Source: Industrial Info Resources – 26 September 2017