Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Green) has signed an agreement in Copenhagen for the construction of a submarine cable. It must bring wind energy from the Danish North Sea to Belgium by 2030.
Triton Link, under that name wants the high voltage mains operator Elia
pulling a connection cable of 500 to 600 kilometers between Belgium and Denmark. The first study made by the company together with the Danish Energinet shows that the multi-billion dollar project is both technically and economically feasible. At a conference in Copenhagen, Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Green) signed an agreement with her Danish colleague Dan Jørgensen to technically draw up the plans.
- An exploratory study shows that a submarine power cable between Denmark and Belgium is feasible.
- Both countries have reached an agreement to further specify the trajectories for the multi-billion dollar project.
- The 600 km import and export cable is intended to bring surpluses of Danish wind energy from the North Sea to Belgium.
- The grid operator Elia hopes to start construction in 2026 and to be ready by 2030.
Denmark is planning an artificial energy island in the North Sea, to which approximately 3 gigawatts (GW) of wind farms would be connected in a first phase by 2030. But the country has little heavy industry itself and is looking for partnerships with other countries to use surplus renewable energy. Belgium is in the front row, but the Netherlands and Germany are also in the race to attract Danish wind energy.
Wind energy will fall sharply in price and will have a positive effect on the price for the consumer.
With a capacity of 1.4 to 2 GW, Triton Link – a name referring to the Greek king of the sea – would become one of the largest interconnection cables in the world. At times with a lot of wind, this cable can transport electricity to Belgium, but at Danish windless moments it can also serve to bring electricity from here to Denmark.
Billion Dollar Project
At the beginning of this year, Belgium and Denmark signed a letter of intent to conduct a feasibility study for the project. The new agreement marks the start of the next phase, which should lead to defined routes for the submarine cable by the end of 2023. Triton Link could connect the Danish energy island directly to the artificial energy island that Elia will build in the North Sea to connect the wind farms in the second Belgian zone. In addition, it is being examined whether it is more efficient to allow the Danish electricity to arrive directly in the port of Ghent or Antwerp.
The Triton Link will be a first that will determine the further development of the European electricity grid at sea.
Elia has the ambition to sign the tender contracts for the construction of the cable by 2026, which can be put into operation by 2030. The company does not yet say how big the investment is, but the connection cable Nemo Link between Belgium and the UK cost 1 billion euros. The connection to Denmark is six times longer, including connections to the wind farms. The cost can therefore run into the billions. It is being examined whether European subsidies can help. Negotiations on the sharing of the burden have yet to take place between Belgium and Denmark.
Belgian green electricity will not suffice
“The Triton Link will be an important first that will determine the development of Europe’s offshore electricity grid,” says Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia. ‘For the first time, two artificial energy islands will be electrically connected via a cable that not only exchanges power between two countries, but is also connected to large-scale wind farms in the far North Sea.’
‘Thanks to the interconnection, Belgium and Denmark will have direct access to large amounts of cheap renewable energy, which is necessary for the electrification of transport and heating and to decarbonise our energy-intensive industry,’ says Van der Straeten. ‘Wind energy is falling sharply in price and will have a positive effect on the price for the consumer. It strengthens Belgium’s security of supply and through direct access to a new electricity market with cheaper prices, this contributes to the prosperity of our country.’