News Release from Elia Group


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First ever power cable between UK and Belgium celebrates strong performance in its first full year of operation

Nemo Link opened one year ago to share electricity between the UK and Belgium / 140 km-long subsea interconnector has been available more than 96% of the time, strengthening security of supply for both countries / Nemo Link further integrates the European market for trading of renewable energy

Image: EliaImage: Elia

Nemo Link, the first ever power cable between the UK and Belgium, has today reported outstanding performance figures as it celebrates its first full year of operation. The subsea cable has been available to import or export power more than 96% of the time in the last 12 months, making it one of the highest performing assets of its kind in the world.

Stretching 140 km from Bruges on the Belgian side to Richborough in Kent, Nemo Link is a joint venture between the Belgian transmission system operators Elia and National Grid in the UK. It began operating on January 31, 2019, offering a range of products that enable energy traders to move electricity back and forth between the two countries. This provides additional options and flexibility for the Belgian and UK electricity markets.

The Nemo Link cable has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. It was also the first subsea HVDC project in the world to use cross linked polyethylene (XLPE) cable technology.

Flows have been primarily in the direction of the UK. 5889.4 GWh were exchanged in the direction of the UK against 175.9GWh in the direction of Belgium.

Intraday nomination gates

On November 14th 2019, Nemo Link launched an Intraday Capacity product being the first channel interconnector to offer hourly nomination gates. The capability to balance the grid closer to real time operations is beneficial for market participants as it allows them to take unexpected changes in consumption and production into account.

This new product has immediately proven successful in December when the Tihange’s (BE) nuclear reactor (1 GW) stopped functioning (37 hours) and Belgian energy production was low. This created an imbalance peak. With Nemo Link the interconnector was therefore able to offer quick solutions to rebalance the positions thanks to its technical flexibility and its offer of products that allow reacting in real time.

"We are delighted to mark our one-year anniversary by announcing that the Interconnector Nemo Link has performed exceptionally well. The advanced technology used for this cable is unprecedented in the world, we have designed and provided a resilient and efficient interconnection which guarantees' available power when needed. The interconnector facilitates the transition to a sustainable and affordable electrical system and improves the guarantees for security of supply. It offers additional possibilities for Belgium and positions it even more like a real European electrical hub," said Markus Berger, Chief Infrastructure Officer at Elia.

"We’ve seen in the last year how Nemo Link has used innovative new technology to bring significant benefits to Belgian and British energy consumers. By enabling the market to react immediately to rapid changes in supply and demand, Nemo helps to better balance an energy system that is more reliant on intermittent wind and solar energy. In the coming years, interconnectors like Nemo will play an increasingly important role as we look to share renewable energy resources across borders to help the UK and Europe reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050," Jon Butterworth, President of National Grid Ventures commented.

We are currently connected to France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The end of 2020 will mark an additional  step with the entry into service of the interconnection with Germany: ALEGrO. The interconnectors are essential for the electrical systems of the future and will allow, among other things, the massive integration of renewable energies because excess production can be more easily exchanged.

Elia Group
Press Office
Elia, National Grid, interconnector, UK, Belgium, North Sea, cable, power, subsea, availability, country, international

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