The first of two cables for a new grid transmission system for offshore windfarms in the Belgian North Sea has been installed in readiness for powering up later this year.
The first cable was installed in early May 2019 and connected to existing onshore underground cables leading to the Stevin high-voltage substation in Zeebrugge.
The second cable is expected to reach the shore later this month. Work is also under way offshore to connect the cables to the offshore transmission system platform. The topsides for the platform was installed in April.
The new ‘plug’ as transmission system operator Elia describes it will bundle the electricity generated by four windfarms – Rentel, Seastar, Mermaid and Northwester 2 – and transmit it to the mainland.
The plug is being installed 40 km off the Belgian coast and will require 130 km of 220-kV cable to be installed.
Elia chief executive Chris Peeters said the modular offshore grid (MOG) “will play an essential role in the transition towards more renewable energy.” He said the project has been completed in record time – the agreement to install it was signed in March 2016, and the MOG will be operational this September.
In late April 2019, the federal government approved Elia’s 2020-2030 development plan, in which the company outlined its investments for the next decade.
Including in the plan is a ‘MOG I’ that will connect more offshore windfarms to Belgium’s high-voltage grid. To make this possible, major onshore projects will also be carried out over the coming years, including the Ventilus and Boucle du Hainaut projects.