Europe, Renewables, Smart Grid T&D, Wind

Eleclink project progressing as European interconnection drive moves ahead

Eleclink has acknowledged the recent announcement of the prioritisation of interconnections by the European Commission as a serious boost for the industry.

Eleclink aims to transmit surplus electricity between Britain and France through the Channel Tunnel. The high-voltage 1000 MW interconnector proposal is 51 per cent owned by Star Capital and 49 per cent by Groupe Eurotunnel.

Eleclink chief executive Angus Norman told Power Engineering International: “We continue to progress with our plans and are aiming for financial close sometime in the summer of 2015.”
Angus Norman
“The announcements from the European Commission on the Energy Union Package are welcome and provide further confirmation of our views that interconnectors are the key enabler to; increase security of supply , allow further internal market development, improve competition and increase decarbonisation  across the region. Furthermore it is clear that interconnectors can deliver these objectives in a timely and cost-efficient manner.”

Mr Norman was referring to a speech given by Commissioner Miguel Canete on interconnection of power as a major pillar of the new European energy union earlier this month.

He told a press conference: “Energy islands still exist in Europe which threaten our security and make us vulnerable. This is the first concrete union showing country by country how we can get to a 10 per cent interconnection target by 2030 and it marks our independence from external suppliers and our interdependence as Europeans.”

Meanwhile TenneT is planning to invest about €20bn over the next ten years in the grids of both Germany and the Netherlands.

The electricity transmission system operator invested €2.3bn in both the countries’ grids in 2014.

By 2023, TenneT plans to grid-connect 3.45 GW of Dutch offshore wind energy under an agreement reached with that country’s government in 2014.

By 2019, TenneT intends to build 7.1GW of connections for German wind farms, which it says will will easily meet the government’s offshore wind target of 6.5GW by 2020.

The TSO is involved in the COBRAcable and NordLink European interconnector projects. The investment decisions have already taken for both the interconnectors and TenneT is expanding the cross-border capacity between the Netherlands and Germany at two locations.

TenneT chief financial officer Otto Jager said: “TenneT is financially well-equipped to tackle the next ten years. However, a point of attention remains. The rapid changes in the energy sector, as well as the energy transition and the associated extensive investment programme, require a robust regulatory regime for TenneT.

“Such a regime should strike the right balance between security of supply and an acceptable cost level. In order to maintain the high reliability level of our grid, investments must be supported by appropriate tariff structures, as is currently the case in Germany.”