The grid operators Elia (Belgium) and Statnett (Norway) are investigating the feasibility of constructing a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) hybrid interconnector that would link Belgium and Norway to offshore wind farms. If it is constructed, the subsea cable will link the high-voltage grids of both countries together whilst also being connected to Norwegian offshore wind farms (making it a hybrid interconnector). The study being undertaken for this potential project has no impact on the realisation of TritonLink, the hybrid interconnector which is due to be constructed between Belgium and Denmark.

Complementary partners

Norway and Belgium are highly complementary in terms of their energy profiles. Whilst our country has limited renewable energy production potential, Norway holds much more potential due to its favourable geographic location. In addition to a high hydropower capacity, Norway’s large continental shelf allows for significant amounts of offshore wind energy to be produced, and its wind conditions are different from those in Belgium. When there is less wind here, Scandinavia has generally high amounts of wind production.

Norway is exploring various options regarding the construction of hybrid interconnectors with its European counterparts. The Norwegian grid operator, Statnett, is planning to sign similar collaboration agreements with Germany’s TenneT and Amprion, Great Britain’s National Grid, and Denmark’s Energinet, in addition to Elia. The realisation of such projects will ultimately be decided by the Norwegian government.

No impact on TritonLink

Elia and Statnett’s work on this potential interconnector is independent from TritonLink, the HVDC interconnector being developed between Belgium and Denmark. The feasibility study for TritonLink has already been completed.

The Belgian-Danish project was included in Belgium’s ‘Federal Development Plan 2024-2034’, which defines the future infrastructure investments which must be made in Belgium. If the new interconnector is built between Belgium and Norway, it will be operational by 2035.

“Energy relations between Belgium and Norway are reaching new heights. Last year, our country signed a comprehensive energy cooperation agreement with Norway, and in April of this year, Norway participated in the important North Sea Summit held in Ostend. Along with seven other North Sea countries, we agreed to transform the North Sea into the largest sustainable electricity hub in Europe, providing affordable electricity for 300 million European households. The feasibility study related to the possible construction of a hybrid interconnector between our two countries is a significant and welcome continuation of this increasingly intensive partnership. Norway and Belgium complement each other well in the field of energy. Belgium is a leader in the development of offshore wind capacity and is constructing its first energy island in the North Sea, taking into account life above and below water. Norway, with its vast untapped wind potential, is a crucial energy partner today and in the future,” said Tinne Van der Straeten, Federal Minister of Energy.

“The success of the energy transition in Europe depends on robust collaboration between countries which produce too much renewable energy and those which produce too little. Offshore wind energy, as a mature technology, can be rapidly and massively scaled up. A hybrid interconnector with Norway would give us direct access to offshore wind farms in the far northern North Sea, an area which is characterised by a different meteorological dynamic that complements our needs. This improves security of supply and supports our energy-intensive industries and households as they transition towards the use of more sustainable electricity,” added Catherine Vandenborre, Interim CEO of Elia Group.

Image source: Courtesy of Elia Group

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