Amprion and Elia have signed a contract with Siemens to deliver two high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) converter stations for the first electricity interconnector between Germany and Belgium.
The 273 million euro contract provides for the delivery of the Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO) interconnector, part of the European electricity highway system, and includes a five-year maintenance agreement. The German Transmission System Operator Amprion and the Belgian Transmission System Operator Elia will join forces to enable the project using 90 kilometres of underground cable, connecting the Belgian and German high-voltage electricity systems.
The converter stations will transform AC to DC and DC back to AC on the other side of the link. Siemens will be responsible for the system design and the supply, installation and commissioning of all components for both converter stations using HVDC Plus technology, which is highly controllable and brings operational benefits to both transmission systems. ALEGrO is scheduled to commence commercial operation in 2020.
The European Commission has designated the ALEGrO project as one of its projects of common interest. The project contributes greatly toward helping the European energy markets grow closer together. The renewable energy sources should also encounter fewer bottlenecks on the grid and maximize their production. The high voltage link can transport energy up to 1,000 MW to either Belgium or Germany with a high degree of controllability of the energy flow. It will transport enough electricity to power half a million homes.
“ALEGrO will make the European electricity network even more secure and powerful” said Klaus Kleinekorte, Managing Director of Amprion. “We can control the power flow of the cable with a high degree of accuracy and adjust the volume of electricity and flow direction.”
Markus Berger, Elia Chief Officer Infrastructure, added that interconnections based on innovative convertor technology will allow bottlenecks in the European transmission network to be gradually decreased. Allowing for more flow exchanges will improve the working of the market and should lead to lower energy prices.
ALEGrO will increase energy security for both countries and support the integration of renewable energy. On top of the additional transport capacity ALEGrO is offering, the fast control and protective intervention in the power converter will allow the TSOs to adjust the volume of electricity and flow direction, for a better efficiency of the electricity grid.