In a joint operation involving Siemens, the UK and Dutch electricity grids have been linked to provide a more stable power supply for both countries.
Siemens Energy together with the operating company BritNed Development has placed the BritNed HVDC transmission link between Britain and the Netherlands into operation. BritNed is a joint venture between the National Grid and TenneT, the Dutch grid operator based in Arnhem.
The 260-km-long subsea cable connection with a transmission capacity of 1000 megawatts (MW) links the 400-kV grids in southern England and in the south of the Netherlands. The HVDC transmission system’s converter station in the UK is located on the Isle of Grain in Kent in south eastern England, while the Dutch station is situated in Maasvlakte near Rotterdam. Besides ensuring greater stability in the European integrated network, BritNed will also serve as an energy trading hub and thus bring more competition into the grid.
“The BritNed HVDC transmission system we’ve installed will stabilise the power supply grids in both Britain and the Netherlands, and thus increase supply reliability in Europe. The advantages of low-loss HVDC transmission technology become fully apparent, especially in regard to long-distance subsea cable links,” said Dr. Udo Niehage, CEO of the Power Transmission Division of Siemens Energy. The planned expansion of wind power in Britain will require an improved connection between the UK and continental Europe to better compensate major fluctuations in power generation expected in the future due to the increasingnumber of renewables. In addition, the new subsea cable connection is intended to improve the competition in northwestern Europe’s grid and to get energy trading into higher gear.
Starting on April 1, current will flow through the new “interconnector” with low-loss transmission, with the electricity markets of both countries setting the price for the electricity as well as the transmission direction. The HVDC transmission connection will thus meet the European Commission’s requirements to interconnect power grids to a greater extent.
As part of the BritNed project, Siemens was responsible for the design of the complete HVDC transmission system and installed both turnkey converter stations. Siemens’ scope of supply included the supply, installation, and commissioning of core components such as converter valves with direct light pulse-fired power thyristors, converter transformers, smoothing reactors, protection and control fgsystems, and AC filters.
BritNed is a high-priority project for Europe’s energy industry. The HVDC transmission link between Britain and the Netherlands will ensure more reliable energy supply and enable electricity and interconnector capacity. Capacity will be traded via energy auctions. It will result in a broader range of choices and give local power companies more options to participate in the European power markets. Market participants will have open access to BritNed’s capacities that are allocated based on implicit auctions run by the Amsterdam Power Exchange (APX-ENDEX) and Unicorn on short-term explicit auctions. Compared to long-term capacity reservation systems, these allocation processes ensure a significantly higher level of transparency and open access to all market participants. The trading of electricity among various power markets also makes them more efficient and more competitive, and forms the basis for creating a standardised European electricity market and network.