On 21 November, Belgian transmission system operator Elia officially inaugurated the Stevin high-voltage line which will, i.a., transport the wind energy generated offshore to the mainland via the connection to the Modular Offshore Grid (MOG).
Elia inaugurated the line together with Prime Minister Charles Michel and Marie Christine Marghem, the Federal Minister of Energy.
The line will be able to transport up to 3,000MW, a capacity equal to that of three major nuclear power plants, Elia said. The Stevin project comprises a double 380- kV connection that runs both above (37 km) and below (10 km) ground. In addition to the overhead lines and cables, three new high-voltage substations have been built: the Stevin substation in Zeebrugge, Gezelle in Bruges and Van Maerlant in Vivenkapelle.
The project will also allow for other sustainable generation units (such as wind energy and CHP units) in the coastal region to be connected to the line. Furthermore, it will facilitate the exchange of electricity with the UK via the Nemo Link project from 2019 onwards.
Work on the Stevin line began in early 2015 and lasted almost three years. Now that the new line is operational, Elia is moving on to the second phase of the project: demolishing 53km of old lines in Bruges, Damme, Maldegem and Eeklo, 35km of which will be brought underground. This work will continue until 2020.
Elia CEO Chris Peeters said: “As a result of the Stevin project, we are forging the missing link between the mainland and the coast, with an energy hub in the North Sea. We were able to make this project a reality thanks to the support of our many partners in the field and close consultation with all stakeholders. I would like to sincerely thank all those involved, particularly the local authorities who provided constructive input on the best possible route for this vital high-voltage line.”
Minister Marie Christine Marghem said: “The Stevin project is a project that is pointing us toward the future. Not only will it enable us to bolster security of supply, but it will also allow us to further develop interconnections with neighbouring countries.”
The total cost of the Stevin project, including all corresponding modifications to the existing high-voltage grid, amounts to approximately EUR 340 million.