Elia grows grid investments to integrate wind

BELGIUM/GERMANY: Transmission systems operator (TSO) Elia increased its investments in grid infrastructure designed to better integrate renewable energy in the first half of the year.

Cables between the Danish Kriegers Flak and Baltic 2 projects were installed in July (pic: 50Hertz)
Cables between the Danish Kriegers Flak and Baltic 2 projects were installed in July (pic: 50Hertz)

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Elia spent €234 million on substations and interconnectors "intended to incorporate renewable energy" in Belgium in the first six months of the year — a 21% increase from the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile, the TSO spent €104 million in Germany — 7% more than in the first half of last year — including on projects to connect future offshore wind farms.

Together, the €338 million grid investments between 1 January and 30 June represent a 17% increase on similar spending in the same period in 2017.

In Belgium, Elia is currently working on:

  • the Modular Offshore Grid (MOG): an electricity hub for four offshore wind farms, due online in 2020. All major contracts have been awarded, Elia stated, and the project is on schedule;
  • the Nemo Link: a high-voltage direct current (DC) 1GW link used to transmit renewable energy between the UK and Belgium, due online in 2019. Despite having to alter the cable route following the discovery of a World War Two bomber, the TSO states the project is "progressing well", with all land-based cabling now complete.

In detailing the investments and project progress reports, Elia stated it "advocates an accelerated approach to infrastructure development" as more renewable energy is brought online.

In Germany, the TSO’s German subsidiary 50Hertz is working on projects including:

  • Ostwind 1: three cable systems connecting future wind farms in the German Baltic Sea to the onshore grid. Successful high-voltage tests have been carried out, and the cables are now in test operation mode, Elia stated;
  • Ostwind 2: three cable systems connecting to projectsin the Baltic Sea that were awarded capacity in the German offshore wind tender in April 2018. The TSO is in talks with wind farm operators about timeframes and technical design of the grid connection;
  • Kriegers Flak Combined Grid Solution: the world’s first interconnector between two offshore wind farms — the Danish Kriegers Flak site and the Baltic 2 project in German waters. The two cables between the projects’ substations were installed in July.

50Hertz stated that because the German coalition government had increased the share of renewables it wants by 2030 from 55% to 65%, it is "primarily considering greater use of the capacity of the existing transmission system".

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