Once completed, the new cable, NordLink, will be one of the world’s longest power cables, and will provide the first direct link between the Norwegian and German power grids. The entire interconnector is 623 kilometres in length, and 516 kilometres will be installed as a subsea cable.
First part this year
“The first part of the cable will be installed this summer, 124 kilometres from Vollesfjord and to the Danish sector of the North Sea,” says Executive Vice President Håkon Borgen, Statnett.
“We have been working on this project for several years, and it is very exciting to get started on the actual cable installation. The cable is now pulled in to shore through a microtunnel from the head of the fjord, and the cable laying vessel is starting its journey towards open sea.
The cable weighs approximately 50 kilograms per metre and is being installed by the Nexans Skagerrak cable installation ship. Following the laying operation the offshore vessel Polar King will bury the cable in the seabed approximately one metre depending on the seabed conditions. The cable was produced by Nexans in Halden, Norway.
Once NordLink is operational, Norway will have six international cables, in addition to interconnectors over land. These all contribute to a greener European energy system with more renewable power.
“Extensive wind power infrastructure has been developed in Northern Germany. This cable will enable an interaction between Norwegian hydropower and German wind and solar power. When the sun shines and wind blows, this can create a power surplus in Germany, and we can buy power for a reasonable price. When the wind is calm and sun doesn't shine, this might cause a demand in Germany, and they can get hydropower from us,” says Borgen.
NordLink will also increase Norway’s security of supply in the event of a constrained power situation in Norway.
“The interconnector between Norway and Germany consist of two cables. Next summer the second cable from Vollesfjord will be installed in parallel to the one that is currently being installed. From Germany, the cable installation will start next year. In total, the subsea cable will be 516 kilometres, he says.
On land, the work to prepare for NordLink has been ongoing since 2014.
“We are building a rectifier facility at Ertsmyra, north in Sirdal, to connect the cable to the Norwegian power grid, and a cable terminal for the subsea cable in Vollesfjord at Flekkefjord. The work on a power cable between these facilities is also underway now,” says Executive Vice President Håkon Borgen.
Statnett has also upgraded the main grid in the area for optimal use of the NordLink cable.
In Germany, the cable will start in Wilster in Schleswig Holstein, northwest of Hamburg.
NordLink is a cooperation between Statnett, the German system operator TenneT and KfW, the German state investment bank. The project has a price tag of EUR 1.5-2 billion.
“The project is on schedule, and the plan sayscommissioning at the end of 2019 and commercial operation in 2020,” says Executive Vice President Håkon Borgen in Statnett.