Green light for 1.4GW interconnector to offload German renewables

Nordlink interconnector project between Germany and Norway receives funding from European Investment Bank.
Published: Thu 08 Jun 2017

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to loan Norwegian operator Statnett €300m for the completion of a 1.4GW Nordlink interconnector between Germany and Norway.

In April, EIB also agreed to provide TenneT, a transmission system operator on the German side, with a loan of €350m to finance the Nordlink interconnector, the first interconnection between the two countries across the North Sea.

The Nordlink is a bipolar high voltage direct current (HVDC) link, which will have a rated capacity of 1.4GW, with terminal voltage of +/- 500 kV and a total length of 624 km. The total estimated investment for the Nordlink interconnector is about €1.2bn and is claimed to be one of Statnett’s largest investments. 

Interconnector to improve security of supply

The aim of the new transmission-distribution project is to improve the diversification and security of supply, and strengthen electricity market integration in both Germany and Norway.

EIB Vice-President responsible for Energy Andrew McDowell said: “Germany has long regarded the sustainability of the energy it uses as very important and the interconnector will allow it to import Norwegian hydro energy when needed, while also allowing exportation of its own surplus renewable generation towards Scandinavia.”

It is also being viewed as a Project of Common Interest in the Priority Corridor Northern Seas Offshore Grid.

Nordlink is the third interconnector that the EIB has helped Statnett finance.

Nordlink-a solution to Germany’s expensive electricity?

The subsea HVDC power cable between Norway and Germany could curb Germany’s expensive electricity tariffs.  

German consumers are losing out on cheaper electricity prices as delays in installing cross-country wind power lines are curbing Germany's ability to import cheaper electricity from Nordic countries, according to Danish producers.

Germany's grid operator TenneT has delayed major power lines, to bring wind power from the north to the industrialised south - where nuclear plants are being closed down - by three years to 2025.

The delay means that German grids are being filled up with its own wind power output which leaves little room for cross-border volumes coming in from Scandinavia.

"Power prices in Germany are higher than in the Nordics. If more exports from Denmark were allowed, it would reduce prices in Germany and that would benefit German consumers," said Carsten Chachah, senior adviser at the Dansk Energi association.