Home Brand News UK’s first power cable to Belgium starts commercial operation.

UK’s first power cable to Belgium starts commercial operation.

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  • 1000 megawatt Nemo Link cable can power one million homes
  • £560m project delivered on time and under budget
  • Subsea cable stretches 80 miles from Bruges, Belgium to Rich borough in Kent
  • Power links into National Grid’s high voltage network via a new overhead line in Rich borough.
  • National Grid CEO John Pettigrew: “Inter connectors are the perfect tool to move renewable energy from where it is produced to where it is needed most”.

The UK’s first subsea electricity inter connector to Belgium is now live and power has been flowing from Belgium to the UK since midnight.

Nemo Link, a joint venture between National Grid and Belgian transmission system operator Elia, began offering day-ahead capacity to power traders on Wednesday 30thJanuary in preparation for the cable going live today. More than 75% of capacity has been reserved by power traders, who need to buy capacity to move power back and forth between Belgium and the UK.

John Pettigrew, Chief Executive Officer of National Grid, said: “We’re delighted that Nemo Link and the Rich borough Connection are now both fully operational and will play a key role in delivering cleaner energy to UK consumers, while also making supplies more secure and competitive. Inter connectors like Nemo Link are the perfect tool to move renewable energy from where it is produced to where it is needed most. By connecting the UK and Belgian electricity markets, we will also ensure customers have access to different sources of generation and lower priced electricity. This will mean that customers pay less for their energy.

“Complex engineering projects such as these require a huge amount of skill and dedication from those involved. To have delivered Nemo Link ahead of schedule and under budget is a fantastic achievement.”

Nemo Link is the first of four inter connector projects being developed under the cap and floor regulation, collectively representing a total investment by National Grid of £2.1 billion. Our 1,000 MW IFA2 project to France and 1,400 MW North Sea Link to Norway are both under construction and expected to be operational in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

During the construction of Nemo Link, teams were faced with several challenges including finding more than 1,200 potential explosives on the seabed and beaches. Many of these dated back to WW2 and had to be detonated by Royal Navy dive teams.

Since construction began in 2015 more than 1,400 engineers and project specialists have worked on the project with over 2.6 million hours spent on the project (excluding manufacturing).

Nemo Link is National Grid’s third inter connector to Europe following the success of IFA (Interconnexion France Angleterre), a 2000 MW inter connector which connects the UK to France, and BritNed which joins the UK to the Netherlands with 1000 megawatts capacity.

In November, the company announced it had been given financial approval for the construction of the 1,400 megawatt Viking Link which will connect the UK with Denmark.

More than 750,000 man hours were spent building the new 20km overhead line, substations and associated works for the Richborough Connection.

A total of £200m was invested in two new high voltage substations and 60 new pylons between Rich borough and Canterbury to carry the 260km of cables needed to join Nemo Link to National Grid’s transmission network.

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