First HVDC link between Germany and Belgium

First HVDC link between Germany and Belgium

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Transmission system operators Amprion in Germany and the Elia Group in Belgium have commissioned the Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO) interconnector, the first power bridge between Germany and Belgium.

The interconnector uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology by Siemens Energy, ALEGrO is capable of carrying around 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power. The 90 kilometers long link provides urgently needed grid capacities for cross-border electricity flows including higher shares of renewable energy. On the same time, ALEGrO will strengthen the security of supply in the German Aachen-Cologne region.

Siemens Energy supplied the two converter stations at each end of the line that convert the alternating current to direct current and vice versa. The stations have been erected in Oberzier in Germany and Lixhe in Belgium and are connected by an underground DC cable. Equipped with HVDC PLUS technology based on modular multilevel converters (MMC), the system offers a controlled power supply in either direction and is ideal as a firewall against disturbances developing in highly loaded AC grids.

“Thanks to the excellent collaboration between Elia, Amprion, Siemens Energy and all partners another landmark project on time and budget could come to fruition. I am proud that our proven HVDC PLUS technology contributes to a greener, more reliable and powerful European electricity network,” said Beatrix Natter, Executive Vice President Transmission at Siemens Energy.

“ALEGrO is a central electricity bridge in the heart of Europe, which couples the internal electricity market even more intensively. At the same time, the project is a prime example of European cooperation and an important further building block for a secure European transmission network,” said Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, CEO of Amprion.

Marcus Berger, Chief Infrastructure Officer Elia, said: “We really appreciate the professional approach that Siemens has demonstrated in the realization of this project. Not only during the construction but also during the commissioning phase. Last week, for example, our teams realised a world’s first by carrying out a so-called black start operation via ALEGrO. Should Belgium ever be hit by a blackout, the interconnector can be used to re-feed the Belgian grid from Germany. This also works in the opposite direction. By bringing this project to a successful conclusion, our teams have shown once again their technical leadership.”

Siemens Energy is currently building 12 HVDC projects worldwide and has completed 55 completed projects, many integrating renewable energy.

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