Brexit will not stop us!
Charles Michel: "Brexit will not stop us! Thanks to Nemo Belgium and United Kingdom are interconnected. More interconnection keeps energy prices under control and ensures sufficient and sustainable provisioning."
After a 10-year development and construction phase, today marks the start of the Nemo Link's commercial exploitation. The interconnection is a collaborative effort organised by the Belgian and British transmission system operators, Elia and National Grid, which set up a joint venture for this purpose, comprising a mixed Belgian-British team. The transmission cables are 140 km long (including a 130 km stretch in the North Sea) and connect converter stations in Richborough (GB) and Bruges (BE), each of which is integrated into its respective national grid. The Nemo Link's completion constitutes a crucial stage in the ongoing integration of the European power grid. Interconnectors are vital, among other things, for the large-scale integration of renewable energies, where excess generated power can be traded at favourable prices at the European level. Interconnections thus contribute not only to a sustainable energy system, but also to a reliable, affordable energy system.
Chris Peeters, Chief Executive Officer of Elia:
Today, 31 January 2019, marks the culmination of a huge project resulting from excellent collaboration between Elia and National Grid. In energy terms, the interconnector will offer a better future for consumers in both countries and facilitate the transition towards a sustainable and affordable electricity system. It will also give us more ways of guaranteeing security of supply. The commissioning of the Nemo Link, combined with that of the ALEGrO connection, scheduled for next year, will significantly boost our energy exchange capacity and position our infrastructure at the heart of Europe's future electricity system.
18,559 MWh exchanged on the first day in the direction of Great Britain
This Thursday, January 31, since 00h, energy exchanges have started. An average of 773 MW will be exchanged and a total amount of 18,559 MWh will be transported for the whole day via the Nemo Link cable. So the interconnection is now operational and playing a role in integrating the European power grid. Elia and National Grid are making their infrastructure available to the market operators who will be the main players involved in electricity trading between Belgium and Great Britain.
An additional 1,000 MW for security of supply
The development of interconnections is mainly planned to integrate renewable energies (going to find renewable energy where it is generated and then transmitting it to where can be consumed at the lowest price) and to foster the integration of the European market (price convergence between Belgium and the neighbouring countries). Of course, a new interconnection also creates additional possibilities for ensuring security of supply. The Nemo Link enables the trading of a forecast capacity of 1,000 MW of energy (equivalent to the capacity of a nuclear reactor).
A major technological first
This project is unprecedented for Elia. It constitutes the first direct electrical connection between Belgium and Great Britain. Moreover, this is Elia's first ever build of a subsea interconnection. And it also marks Elia's first ever use of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, which offers the best option for connecting two non-synchronised power grids and enables better flow control, too. The cable used constitutes a technological achievement in itself. It is unique for the voltage level involved (400 kV) and the extraordinary material used to insulate it: cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE).