Elia upgrades power grid between Kruibeke and Zomergem
Thursday, Jun 15, 2017
Elia, the Belgian high-voltage system operator, is starting work on the Mercator-Horta high-voltage line in East Flanders. In recent years, this line has increasingly become an important link in the European electricity system. The Mercator-Horta upgrade is crucial for ensuring energy exchange with our neighbouring countries and guaranteeing security of supply.

Elia takes gradual approach to project

Mercator-Horta is a 49-km, 380-kV high-voltage line running from Kruibeke to Zomergem, crossing 12 municipalities. The masts and foundations will be upgraded during the first phase of the works on the line. Each mast between the Mercator high-voltage substation in Kruibeke and the Horta substation in Zomergem will receive additional underground concrete piles. The first phase will be completed by the end of 2017. In 2018, the conventional conductors for the Mercator-Horta line will be replaced by more efficient conductors. Elia had previously started work on the Mercator high-voltage substation in Kruibeke.

Works serve three major objectives

Upgrading the Mercator-Horta line is needed for three reasons. Firstly, the project will ensure that electricity can be more efficiently transmitted from and to neighbouring countries. The import and export of electricity is important for security of supply in Belgium and Europe. However, Elia operates not only within a national context, but is - as the Belgian transmission system operator - an important link in the European energy system. Secondly, Europe is asking its member states to invest in sufficient transmission capacity to improve international market operation and to make the energy price more competitive. Thirdly, Mercator-Horta makes it possible to transmit electricity generated by offshore wind farms onshore and to neighbouring countries. This is an important step for integrating renewable sources of energy.

Environmental impact minimised

Elia is committed to communicating transparently and in a timely fashion with those around it and to maximally limiting disruption. Elia is keeping local residents abreast of project developments via the project website, an electronic newsletter and local resident newsletters. And, following the project, the land and green areas will be restored to their original state as far as possible. In addition, no night work is done and Elia has set up depots in industrial zones in order to minimise disruption. If diversions are necessary, Elia always consults with all relevant authorities in order to disperse traffic pressure.

About Elia

The Elia Group is organised around two electricity transmission system operators (TSOs): Elia Transmission in Belgium and - together with Industry Funds Management (IFM) - 50Hertz Transmission, one of the four German TSOs, active in the north and east of Germany. With more than 2,100 employees and a transmission grid comprising some 18,400 km of high-voltage connections serving 30 million end users, the Elia Group is one of Europe's top five TSOs. It efficiently, reliably and securely transmits electricity from generators to distribution system operators and major industrial consumers, while also importing and exporting electricity from and to neighbouring countries. The Group is a driving force behind the development of the European electricity market and the integration of energy generated from renewable sources.

In addition to its TSO activities in Belgium and Germany, the Elia Group offers businesses an extensive range of consultancy and engineering services.

The Group operates under the legal entity Elia System Operator, a listed company whose core shareholder is the municipal holding company Publi-T.

For more information, please visit: http://www.elia.be

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