Siemens has won a contract with transmission operators, Amprion and Elia, to will deliver two high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) converter stations for the first electricity interconnector between Germany and Belgium. The order volume for Siemens, including a five-year maintenance agreement, amounts to €273 million.
The German Transmission System Operator Amprion and the Belgian Transmission System Operator Elia have joined forces to deliver the Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO), a major infrastructure project and part of the European electricity highway system.
Using 90-km long underground cables, ALEGrO will connect 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. It is scheduled to commence commercial operation in 2020.
Siemens will be responsible for the system design and the supply, and installation and commissioning of all components for both converter stations. The company will use HVDC Plus technology, which is highly controllable and brings operational benefits to both transmission systems.
“ALEGrO will feature state-of-the-art converter technology,” said Ralf Christian, CEO of the Siemens Energy Management Division. “The HVDC Plus solution from Siemens assures highest reliability and efficiency in transmitting power independent from specific weather or grid conditions. HVDC Plus masters the growing challenges from fluctuating renewables.”
The European Commission has designated the ALEGrO project as one of its projects of common interest. ALEGrO contributes greatly toward helping the European energy markets grow closer together. The high-voltage link will transport energy up to 1,000 MW to either Belgium or Germany with a high degree of controllability of the energy flow.
This means renewable energy sources should encounter fewer bottlenecks on the grid and maximize their production.
“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: “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 let the TSOs adjust the volume of electricity and flow direction, for a better efficiency of the electricity grid.