Grid operator Elia will build a modular offshore grid (MOG) in the Belgian North Sea with an investment of €400m.

The investment will be used for all the construction works carried out by the Belgian company, Elia along with the acquisition of part of some assets built by Rentel.

The MOG, which will act like an electricity plug, will be located around 40km from the Zeebrugge coast and is slated to be commissioned in the third quarter of 2019.

Upon construction of the modular offshore grid, Elia will own and operate the offshore assets.

Through the modular offshore grid, new wind farms like Rentel, Northwester 2, Seastar and Mermaid that have a combined capacity of 1030MW can be connected in a cost-effective and reliable way to the Belgian grid.

The offshore grid is also expected to open up scope for offshore development in the future along with interconnection opportunities with nearby countries as per Elia.

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 leads to the creation of high quality jobs.”

The modular offshore grid features an offshore platform to give connections to the new wind energy farms. To link the platform with the Stevin substation in Zeebrugg, three 220kV submarine cables will be used to ensure that the generated wind energy can be transmitted to the Belgian onshore grid.

The MOG will help in reducing the total cable length by 40 km, thereby causing lesser disturbance to the seabed and undersea life.

Image: Illustration of Elia’s modular offshore grid. Photo: courtesy of Elia.