Elia and PPL Corporation Form Offshore Wind Pact in USA

American utility PPL Corporation, through its subsidiary PPL TransLink LLC, and Belgium’s Elia Group, through its subsidiary WindGrid, have signed an agreement to develop and propose transmission solutions to integrate future offshore wind capacity to the onshore grid in the New England region, USA.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop, build and operate transmission assets, so combining PPL’s experience in building and operating large-scale onshore transmission assets in the US, with Elia Group’s track record in building, integrating, and operating offshore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) networks.

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”As the U.S. seeks to accelerate the development of offshore wind to advance a cleaner energy future, it’s essential that we prepare to integrate that wind as reliably and efficiently as possible to strengthen grid resilience and keep energy affordable. Both PPL and Elia Group are at the forefront of grid innovation. We intend to leverage our shared vision and deep expertise to propose solutions that advance decarbonisation goals, enhance energy security and drive value for consumers,” Vincent Sorgi, President and CEO of PPL Corporation, said.

PLL and Elia Group plan to jointly respond to a Request for Information (RFI) issued by five New England states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire, that are seeking input from interested stakeholders relating to the transmission system changes and upgrades that are needed to integrate future renewable energy resources into their grids.

Recent studies, including Massachusetts’ Energy Pathways to Deep Decarbonization report, which is cited in the RFI, assume that up to 30,000 MW of New England offshore wind capacity will be deployed by 2050.

”Both PPL and Elia Group share the same open mind and vision regarding innovative offshore transmission solutions. By uniting our complementary skills and building on the experience Elia Group has built up in Europe, we want to undertake offshore development in the interest of society. PPL is a reliable and robust player in the U.S. energy sector. Our values and ambitions in terms of driving the energy transition are well matched,” said Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia Group.

Through its subsidiaries in Belgium and Germany, Elia Group has connected 14 wind farms with a combined capacity of 3,500 MW to its onshore grid and is currently operating three HVDC subsea cable interconnectors.

The company built the world’s first hybrid interconnector, which is connected to three offshore wind farms, and has pioneered the first offshore AC grid in Germany and the use of X-ray technology for offshore cable inspections.

Elia Group is currently developing the world’s first energy islands that will form the building blocks of an integrated European offshore grid. These offshore electricity hubs will link wind farms and HVDC interconnectors to multiple European countries.

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Photo: Elia/Illustration