Belgian electricity transmission operator Elia has plans to invest €400m on 'electricity plug' or 'modular offshore grid' (MOG) in the North Sea.
Installing MOG in the North Sea is expected to play an important role for Belgium in its future participation of renewable energy in the North Sea.
By the modular offshore grid, upcoming offshore wind farms such as Rentel, Northwester 2, Mermaid, Seastar could be connected to Belgian grid in both reliable and cost-effective way.
The four wind farms are expected to produce about 1.03GW of total electricity.
The modular design of the grid is expected to bring opportunities for future offshore development and interconnections with its neighbouring countries in the European Union.
The modular offshore grid will be located 40km from the coast of Zeebrugge in the North Sea. The grid will have a platform through which new wind farms could be connected. From its location, three 220kV submarine cables will be connected to the grid to the Stevin substation in Zeebrugge, transmitting electricity from the wind farms to the Belgian grid.
Elia CEO Chris Peeters said: “ This is a very important step for Elia. The modular grid is a first building block of a future North Sea Grid and will expand our activities in Belgium from onshore towards offshore.
“We are proud to be able to contribute to the further integration of renewables and to help Belgium to meet the European climate objectives. The modular grid can generate opportunities for the economy, help to develop new technologies, and this all lead s to the creation of high quality jobs.”
The modular offshore grid is expected to be installed and put to use in third quarter of 2019. Presently, Elia is conducting soil condition investigations along the cable route.
Elia stated that being modular in nature, the grid’s construction can be phased and synchronised to different time schedules of individual wind farms. The modular design can help in injecting electricity directly into the Belgian grid, even when there is a loss or failure of one of the cables.
Image: Elia to invest €400m on modular offshore grid. Photo: Courtesy of xedos4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.