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New 1.5 GW Dutch-German power link to go-live August 25 boosting transmission capacity

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New 1.5 GW Dutch-German power link to go-live August 25 boosting transmission capacity


First circuit to boost capacity by 750 MW, second to follow Nov

More German surplus power expected to flow into Dutch grid

London — The new German-Dutch power interconnector will go-live August 25 boosting transmission capacity by up to 750 MW with the second circuit planned to come online in November, grid operators TenneT and Amprion said.

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The two circuits of the new 380 kV HVDC cable between Doetinchem in the Netherlands and Wesel in Germany will boost transmission capacity by 1-2 GW allowing more German surplus power to flow into the Dutch grid.

In a joint statement on the JAO platform both TSOs said the integration of the new line into the so-called flow-based market coupling (FBMC) process will change various import and exports constraints with the TSOs also performing an impact assessment analysis for 12 typical reference days to be published once both circuits are in operation.

The Netherlands is currently the biggest export market for Germany's electricity surplus with a net 12.7 TWh flowing across the border into the Dutch power grid so far this year, grid operator data based on physical flows shows. Dutch power imports are up partly due to reduced nuclear output in Belgium.

Combined, Belgian and Dutch net power imports increased sharply in H1 2018 with an average 6 GW flowing each hour across those borders, data from grid operators TenneT and Elia showed earlier this month.

The new link is only one of three cross-border links for the region to come online this winter boosting transmission capacity for the Benelux region by some 3 GW.

The other new links are a 700 MW subsea cable linking the Netherlands with Denmark, on track to start operations February 2019, and the 1 GW cable between Belgium and Great Britain, on track to start operations in Q1 2019.

Increased cross-border transmission capacity will help both Benelux countries with their own energy transitions (nuclear phase-out in Belgium and coal exit in Netherlands), but will increase connectivity to other markets such as the Nordics, GB and Germany, which itself plans to phase-out nuclear and coal over coming years.

In the short-term, this could reduce gas plant output in the Netherlands with Dutch power at a premium to Germany.

Belgium prices largely depend on nuclear availability by comparison to the French market with a number of Belgian reactors currently in extended maintenance outages and Belgium at a premium across the region.

In the long term, the interconnectors may help to balance volatility from ever rising renewables across the region.

Dutch plans to introduce a carbon floor price from 2020 may also impact the pricing structure, although EUA carbon allowances are now trading above the planned starting level for the Dutch carbon floor currently under consultation by the Dutch government.

Cross-border capacity between Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany/Austria and France are optimized under the FBMC mechanism, while flows to the Nordics and Great Britain are part of the market coupling of regions.

--Andreas Franke,

--Edited by Maurice Geller,