Belgian transmission operator Elia has commissioned the high voltage Stevin line, a 47km long, 385kV link between Zeebrugge and Zomergem.

The transmission line will transport energy generated from new offshore wind farms to the mainland. This new line is capable of transmitting up to 3GW of electricity, equal to the energy produced by three major nuclear power plants.

It is expected to encourage investments in green energy projects in the region and support the growth of Zeeburge port area.  

Stevin transmission line can also act as an interconnector with other European countries such as the UK through the Nemo subsea cable. It is the expected that from 2019, the link can be practically used as an interconnector.

The project includes a double 380kV connection between the two towns, running 37km above and 10km below the ground. Apart from the lines and cables, three new high-voltage substations have been built at in Zeebrugge, Gezelle in Bruges and Van Maerlant in Vivenkapelle.

Elia claims that Stevin line is of significant importance for the region as it helps in transporting wind energy generated offshore to the mainland using a modular offshore grid (MOG).  

Work on the line began back in 2015 and it took almost three years to complete it. With the first phase of project being completed, Elia will now move towards the second phase, which includes the demolition of 53km of old lines. The second phase is expected to continue until 2020.

Elia CEO Chris Peeters said: “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.

“We were able to make this project a reality thanks to the support of our many partners in the field and close consultation with all stakeholders. I would like to sincerely thank all those involved, particularly the local authorities who provided constructive input on the best possible route for this vital high-voltage line."

Image: The new transmission line is expected to bring offshore energy to Belgium mainland. Photo: Courtesy of xedos4/