T&D World Magazine

NorNed, the Longest Electricity Cable in the World, is Operational

Tuesday, May 6, the longest high-voltage cable in the world, was successfully put into operation: the NorNed cable between the Netherlands (Eemshaven) and Noorway (Feda), with a length of 580 km. The cable has a capacity of 700 MW and is intended for the transmission of electricity between both countries. This cable contributes in creating an European electricity market for 200 million consumers.

The cable provides the required synergy for both countries. Norway and the Netherlands complement each other with regard to production and consumption of energy. In the Netherlands, energy consumption is less during the night than during the day. In Norway, the energy consumption during the night is relatively high. Both countries have different forms of energy consumption: Norway has electrical heating, whereas in the Netherlands gas heating is used. With the NorNed cable the Dutch and Norwegian power plants can use their production capacity to an optimum. Moreover, the Netherlands has the possibility to import green hydro powered energy. Partially thanks to this connection, the Dutch market will have lower and more stable prices. The electricity can flow in two directions, whereby the direction will be determined by the energy prices in the Netherlands and Norway.

The NorNed cable is a joint project of the Transmission System Operators (TSOs) from Norway and the Netherlands, Stattnett and TenneT. The 580 km long cable is the longest submarine high-voltage cable in the world. Due to this electricity motorway, market parties can import and export electricity via explicit auctions. For the Netherlands, NorNed is the sixth international connection. The existing cables are two connections to Belgium and three connections to Germany.

The NorNed cable fits within a series of developments which are currently taking place within the European TenneT ambitions. Currently, works on a cable to the United Kingdom as well as a fourth connection to Germany are under way. Next developments in relation to the integration of the western European electricity markets have been started. Due to the NorNed cable a market of 200 million consumers is becoming a reality.

On May 5, transmission capacity on the NorNed cable was auctioned for the first time. The capacity was auctioned for May 6th. The available capacity amounted to 700 MW during all daytime hours. The demand received by NorNed Auction totalled 2430 MW per hour on average. Eventually, the average price was set at EUR 49.42, with a maximum of EUR 89.46 at noon and a minimum of EUR 20.56 at 4 a.m.

The direction of the electrical current is determined by the energy prices in the Netherlands and Norway. Because prices in Norway are lower than those in the Netherlands, the current will flow from Norway to the Netherlands. The NorNed cable meets the demand for the transmission of cheaper, sustainably produced electricity from Norway to the Netherlands, and the transmission of electricity from the Netherlands to Norway during periods of scarcity in the latter country.

Fact and figures
The cable is a construction cable connected to two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations in Eemshaven and Feda. These stations have a surface area of approximately two football pitches. The total weight of the cable is approximately 47,000 tons and the cable has been installed in eight sections. In total the project involved a continuous execution time period of ten years, of which three years were used for the actual installation of the cable and corresponding converter stations.

  • Cable length 580 km
  • 420 km cable in shallow waters (up to 50 m depth)
  • 160 k cable on a depth up to a maximum 410 m
  • Total weight of the cable 47,000 tons
  • Maximum voltage on the cable + 450 kV and –450 kV
  • Cable capacity 700 MW
  • 24 permits in four countries
  • Total project costs 600 million EURO
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