Belgian transmission system operator Elia has commissioned the Stevin high voltage line that will connect offshore windfarms off the coast of the country to the Belgian grid.
The system was officially inaugurated on 21 November 2017 by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Marie Christine Marghem, the Federal Minister of Energy.
The project enhances Belgium’s high-voltage grid in West and East Flanders and is pioneering in many ways. The 47 km, 380 kV Stevin line between Zeebrugge and Zomergem will transport energy generated by new offshore windfarms to the mainland, encourage green energy projects in the region, support growth in the Zeebrugge port area, and facilitate the exchange of energy with the UK via the forthcoming Nemo interconnector. The new line will be able to transmit up to 3,000 MW.
The Stevin transmission line will transmit energy generated offshore to the mainland via the modular offshore grid, which was also built by Elia, 40 km off the Belgian coast and bundles together the subsea cables for future Belgian offshore installations. From 2019 onwards electricity will be transmitted to the UK (and from the UK to Belgium) via the Nemo Link.
Work on the Stevin line began in early 2015 and took almost three years. Now that the new line is operational, the system operator is moving on to the second phase of the project, demolishing 53 km of old lines in Bruges, Damme, Maldegem and Eeklo, 35 km of which will be brought underground. This work will continue until 2020.
Elia chief executive Chris Peeters emphasised the importance of the project for the Belgian energy system. “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,” he said.
Minister 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.”