Subsea power cable linking UK and Belgium to go live in 2019

UK multinational electricity and gas utility company National Grid and Belgian transmission system operator Elia have completed the construction of the £600m Nemo Link, which would be the first subsea power cable to connect the energy systems of the two countries, once it becomes operational by the first quarter of next year.

Covering an 80-mile route from Herdersbrug on the Belgian coast to Richborough in Kent, Nemo Link is National Grid’s third interconnector to Europe after Interconnexion France Angleterre, a 2,000MW interconnector linking the UK to France, and BritNed that links the UK to the Netherlands with 1,000MW capacity.

National Grid chief executive John Pettigrew said: “Nemo Link will bring great benefits to consumers in the UK and Belgium by offering both countries access to a broader energy mix and providing opportunities to expand into other electricity markets.

“This new connection will also provide significant social benefits. By connecting the UK and Belgian electricity markets, we will ensure customers have access to different sources of generation and lower priced electricity. This will mean that customers pay less for their energy.”

The subsea power cable project will transmit 1,000MW of electricity between the two nations that will be enough to electrify one million homes.

Elia chief executive Chris Peeters said: “Today marks the inauguration of the first interconnector between Belgium and the United Kingdom. This massive project is a first for Belgium, both technically and strategically.

“This new interconnector – along with the soon to be completed ALEGrO connection with Germany – will enable us to significantly boost our energy exchange capacity and to position our infrastructure at the very heart of a future integrated European electricity system.”

For the Nemo Link project, Siemens supplied and installed the converter stations and all associated equipment.

Over the next five years, National Grid plans to invest more than £2bn in new interconnectors to Europe.

Last month, National Grid obtained a financial approval to construct 1.GW Viking Link, which will connect the UK with Denmark.

National Grid also has two more links under construction – North Sea Link to connect the UK and Norway; and IFA 2 to serve as a second link to France. These two projects will add 1,400MW and 1,000MW capacity, respectively.

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