TenneT is upgrading the transmission capacity of the existing 220-kV electricity connection between Zwolle and Groningen in the north of the Netherlands. The expansion is necessary because the transmission capacity of the present grid infrastructure is in the near future insufficient to handle the expected increase in production. The capacity upgrade will allow small-scale wind energy and combined heat and power (CHP) initiatives, as well as new large-scale production capacity at Eemshaven, to be connected to the high voltage grid over the coming years. The upgrade of the Vierverlaten-Zeijerveen-Hoogeveen-Zwolle route is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2011.
Work on upgrading the Hoogeveen-Zwolle section began in mid 2009, while the upgrade of the Assen Groningen section was started just recently. The work consists of reinforcing the high voltage pylons and foundations and replacing the conductors (wires) and insulators in the pylons. TenneT is using a special aluminum alloy for the conductors. The alloy will enable a further reduction in so-called ‘grid losses’ (the electricity lost in transit during transmission). This new development is in line with the Corporate Social Responsibility policy of the national electricity transmission operator.
Nuisance to local residents and business will be minimal, as much of the work will be carried out in rural areas. The connection passes through an urban area at Assen, where an information meeting will be organized in March to inform local residents about the work being carried out.
New cable link between Beilen and Hoogeveen
Besides expanding the capacity of the 220-kV connection, TenneT is also planning to construct a new underground 110-kV cable link between Beilen and Hoogeveen. This cable, too, is needed to further expand the capacity of the regional high voltage grid. All the necessary arrangements have been agreed with land owners concerning use of land for construction of the new cable link. Work on the cable link will start in February and is scheduled for completion in September.
Northwest 380 kV project
The upgrade of the 220-kV link and the associated realization of a new 110-kV connection is a first short-term step towards increasing the transmission capacity in the north of the Netherlands. At the same time, TenneT is working on a much larger expansion of transmission capacity by constructing a new 380-kV electricity connection that will run from Eemshaven via Ens (in the Noordoostpolder area) to Diemen (near Amsterdam). This link is needed because of the construction of new power plants at the Eemshaven site and the ongoing increase in the production of sustainable energy. The planning procedures for the construction of this new connection have already been started. Completion of the high-voltage connection is scheduled for 2016.
Reinforcement nature and landscape
Because the connection between Zwolle and Hoogeven was previously envisaged to be decommissioned by 2010, the Ministery of Economic Affairs, TenneT and the northern provinces closed an bargaining agreement in December 2007 on the maintenance of this connection. TenneT is investing ten million euro in compensating measures in these two areas. The money is intended to strengthen nature and landscape values in the immediate vicinity of the line to be retained.