USA: Elia Becomes Equity Partner in Offshore Atlantic Wind Connection Project


Elia, the Belgian Transmission System Operator, joins Google, Marubeni, Good Energies and Atlantic Grid Investments (“AGI”) in the Atlantic Wind Connection project for the development of the first high voltage direct current (“HVDC”) offshore backbone in the U.S., that will enable the connection of 6.000 MW of offshore wind produced off the coasts of several Eastern States.

The Atlantic Wind Connection Project (“AWC Project”) is the first high voltage direct current (“HVDC”) offshore backbone to be developed in the U.S. Using state-of-the art multi-terminal HVDC systems and Voltage Sourced Converters, it will enable the integration of 6.000 MW of offshore wind into the PJM1 interconnection system off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

In each of these States, the backbone will have interconnections with the existing land-based transmission system, thereby enabling the transmission of up to 2.000 MW between its onshore terminals and reinforcing the existing onshore grid in the congested Mid-Atlantic electric power market. The backbone is expected to be as long as 556 km long and its development will be divided into five segments (A, B, C, D and E) with a budget soaring at a total of USD 5,5 billion.

Brussels-based Elia has joined Google, Marubeni, Good Energies and AGI as a shareholder in the AWC Project: it acquired from AGI a strategic 10% minority participation in the first segment and a 5% minority participation in the four other segments of the AWC Project. The Elia Group is the fourth largest Transmission System Operator (TSO) in Europe and operates the electricity transmission system in Belgium and the electricity transmission system in the North and Eastern part of Germany through its daughter company 50Hertz Transmission.

Elia simultaneously entered into a long term consultancy contract with the AWC Project developer, Atlantic Wind Developer (“AGD”). Under this contract, the group will bring to the AWC Project its expertise in the design and development of offshore/electricity-highways in Europe; expertise gained namely in the North and Baltic seas, off the shores of Belgium and Germany. Elia is also one of the founding parties of a consortium between seven major European companies all active in offshore transmission, which provides unique turnkey solutions for offshore transmission.

“We look forward to joining the shareholders of, and to bringing our expertise to, this challenging and innovative project. We share their vision regarding the strategic importance of carbon free production of electricity and massive integration of wind energy into the grid. The cooperation and synergies that we will develop together will benefit a greener planet”, declared Daniel Dobbeni, Chief Executive Officer of Elia, and also Chairman of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).


Source: Elia, July 15, 2011;