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Elia and Energinet discuss green electricity project

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Energy Global,

The Belgian TSO Elia and the Danish national TSO Energinet have signed an agreement to assess by the end of 2021 whether it is possible and advantageous to connect Belgium and Denmark with an electricity interconnection via a future energy island in the North Sea. The agreement to carry out the assessment has taken place in continuation of the political agreement concluded between the two countries’ ministers.

Following the signing of the agreement between Elia and Energinet, the energy island in the North Sea is now central to assessing three possible electricity interconnections to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Energinet is already co-operating with German and Dutch colleagues on looking into similar international connections.

If the electricity interconnection between Denmark and Belgium becomes a reality, it will pass through the offshore waters of four different nations, and will probably be one of the world’s longest DC high-voltage cables.

Belgium needs considerable offshore wind power

Like many other European countries, Belgium is busy with the comprehensive green transition of its energy system. The country is phasing out all its nuclear power generation in 2025, and its green energy system of the future will therefore become dependent on energy from solar and wind power.

With a relatively small coastline and limited access to offshore wind power in the Belgian part of the North Sea, Belgium needs to import green energy on a large scale. In this way, Denmark’s plan to build an energy island in the North Sea dovetails well with Belgium’s need to make the transition to green energy.

In connection with the agreement, Chris Peeters, Chief Executive Officer of Elia, says:

“The realisation of the Belgian-Danish cable would be an important next step in making our electricity system more sustainable. It would be the first time that our country is connected to a new electricity market that is further away than our neighbours. Thanks to the hybrid technology, we will also have direct access to large-scale wind farms in the far northern North Sea with a different meteorological dynamic than off our coast. This will ensure a higher level of security of supply and help our energy-intensive industry to continue decarbonising.”

North Sea energy island a trans-European project

The energy island in the North Sea will be one of Denmark’s largest-ever construction projects. However, it is equally significant that the energy island as a concept heralds a new era for large-scale offshore wind power in the European green transition. An era in which the expansion of offshore wind has, from the very outset, been all about redeeming the potential of offshore wind power, and help Europe as a whole towards ultimately 100% green energy consumption.

Energinet and Elia state in the agreement that they will cooperate on assessing the possibility of an interconnection between Belgium and Denmark based on the European objective of 300 GW offshore wind power in 2050.

On the agreement between Elia and Energinet

  • With the agreement, Elia and Energinet will carry out technical and cost-benefit analyses of a possible electricity interconnection between Belgium and Denmark via an energy island in the North Sea.
  • The analysis work is being carried out following the political co-operation agreement that was reached between the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities and the Belgian Federal Minister of Energy on 4 February 2021, and involve closely co-ordinated co-operation between the two countries’ ministries.
  • Initially, the agreement is bilateral, but the parties will remain open to the possibility of other countries in the region being able to participate in the co-operation in future.
  • At the beginning of 2022, the assessment will enable a decision to be made on whether the co-operation will evolve into a more binding agreement in the period leading up to the establishment of the connection.
  • With the agreement, the energy island in the North Sea is now central to the co-operation between three countries and the assessment to identify possible international connections: Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The co-operation concerning possible interconnections to Germany and the Netherlands is taking place under the auspices of the international consortium North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH).

Energy island in the North Sea

  • An energy island is a hub for large volumes of energy from offshore wind power. From the island, energy is converted and forwarded to several countries.
  • It will be an artificial island consisting of one or more types of caissons, 80 km off the Danish coast, and initially covering an area corresponding to 18 football pitches.
  • The island needs to be established by 2033, if possible before. By this point, it must be ready to deliver 3 GW of offshore wind power, increasing to 10 GW in the 2030s.
  • The investment expense of this energy island is estimated to total €28 billion, which includes 10 GW offshore wind farms, electrical installations on the island and power transport cables to land.



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