Elia Board Greenlights Modular Offshore Grid Project

The board of directors of Belgium’s transmission system operator Elia has approved the EUR 400 million investment into the so-called electricity plug, or Modular Offshore Grid (MOG) in the North Sea.

Source: Elia

New offshore wind farms like Rentel, Northwester 2, Mermaid, and Seastar will be able to connect to MOG and feed wind energy directly into the Belgian grid, even when there is a loss or failure of one of the offshore cables, according to Elia.

MOG also creates opportunities for future offshore development and interconnections with neighbouring countries, Elia said.

The project includes an offshore platform located approximately 40 kilometres from the coast of Zeebrugge. Three 220kV submarine cables will link the platform with the Stevin substation in Zeebrugge, so that the produced wind energy can be injected in the Belgian onshore grid. The total installed capacity of the next four wind farms Rentel, Northwester 2, Mermaid and Seastar is expected to amount to 1,030MW

Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia, said: “The modular grid is a first building block of a future North Sea Grid and will expand our activities in Belgium from onshore towards offshore. We are proud to be able to contribute to the further integration of renewables and to help Belgium to meet the European climate objectives. The modular grid can generate opportunities for the economy, help to develop new technologies, and this all leads to the creation of high quality jobs.”

MOG is scheduled to be taken into use in the third quarter of 2019.

Elia already performed seabed survey campaigns to investigate soil conditions along the cable route and at the platform location. A detailed design of the offshore platform is currently being undertaken and other tenders for the main construction contracts are ongoing.

The estimated total investment includes all the construction works by Elia, as well as the acquisition of part of the assets built by Rentel. Once MOG is constructed, Elia will own and operate the offshore assets.