In February, representatives from Germany and Norway signed an agreement for Nordlink, the first direct subsea power line linking the two countries. The first construction contracts have already been issued. The project brings together German grid operator Tennet and development bank KfW, and Norwegian transmission grid operator Statnett. The investment volume is estimated by Tennet at EUR 1.5 to 2 billion. The 623 km highvoltage direct-current interconnector will enable up to 1,400 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to flw between northern Germany and southern Norway, beginning in 2020.
The aim of the project is to enable Germany to sell its excess wind power to Norway, or temporarily store it in Norwegian reservoirs. In return, Norway will feed its excess hydroelectricity into the German grid. Tennet says the exchange will create a better balance between supply and demand at peak times, which in turn will stabilize electricity prices in both countries. Germany’s economics minister Sigmar Gabriel praised Nordlink as an “important step towards greater supply security in Germany.”
Meanwhile, another direct-current line across European borders was completed at the end of February. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his French counterpart Manuel Valls inaugurated an electrical interconnection named Inelfe, which extends nearly 65 kilometres from Baixas, near Perpignan in France to Santa Llogaia, near Figueres in Spain. The Franco-Iberian project is worth a total of EUR 700 million, and was commissioned by a joint venture between the cable operators of both countries, RTE and REE.
Inelfe has been labelled a priority project by the European Union, which co-financed it with a EUR 225 million grant. The figures are impressive: its two gigawatts (GW) of electrical capacity and 320 kilovolts (kV) of voltage both constitute a record for high-voltage direct-current interconnections according to the contractor, the Prysmian Group. Inelfe will double the transmission capacity between the two southern European countries from 1.4 to 2.8 GW