The Belgian and Danish energy ministers, Tinne Van der Straeten and Dan Jørgensen, have signed an MOU for the development of an electricity interconnector from the energy island Denmark plans to build in the North Sea
With the MOU signed, the transmission system operators in the countries, Elia and Energinet, will start a year-long feasibility study. They expect to complete that study by the end of 2021.
The interconnector between Belgium and Denmark would be a ‘hybrid’ project in as much as it would connect Belgium to large offshore windfarms off the Danish coast. Power from the windfarms would be transmitted to both countries.
Denmark is already co-operating with Germany and the Netherlands, looking into similar international connections from the energy island.
If the electricity interconnection between Denmark and Belgium becomes a reality, it will pass through the waters of four different countries and could become the world’s longest DC high-voltage cable.
Belgium is phasing out all of its nuclear power generation by 2025 and its energy system will become dependent on energy from solar and wind power. With a relatively small coastline and limited space for offshore wind in the Belgian part of the North Sea, it needs to import green energy on a large scale.
Elia chief executive Chris Peeters said, “Realising a Belgian-Danish interconnector would be an important next step in making our electricity system more sustainable.
“Thanks to this hybrid technology, we would have direct access to large-scale windfarms in the North Sea. This would ensure a higher level of security of supply and help our energy-intensive industry to continue decarbonisation.”
Energinet president and chief executive Thomas Egebo said, “An electricity interconnection between Denmark and Belgium via the energy island is an outstanding example of how the enormous offshore wind resources in the North Sea can benefit the green transition, not just countries with a long coastline, but large consumers on the European continent.
“I am delighted to be signing this important and exciting co-operation agreement with Elia. Belgium will become a completely new electricity ‘neighbour’ for Denmark.”
The analysis is being carried out following a political co-operation agreement reached between Denmark and Belgium on 4 February 2021.
Initially, the interconnector agreement is bilateral, but the parties remain open to the possibility of other countries in the region being able to participate in the co-operation in future.
A decision will be taken at the beginning of 2022 on whether the co-operation will evolve into a binding agreement.