National Grid and NLink – a subsidiary of Dutch transmission system operator TenneT – are constructing the BritNed subsea HVDC power link that aims to both increase the security of supply for the UK and the Netherlands as well as improve access for customers to participate in European power trading markets.
The 260 km long bipole 450 kV interconnector consists of two HVDC cables (supplied by ABB) and will be laid in parallel, buried at least 1 m beneath the bottom of the North Sea. BritNed will transmit up to 1 GW of power over a distance of approximately 260 km between AC/DC converter stations on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary, in England, and Maasvlakte in the Netherlands.
As a commercial, open-access interconnector it’s funding and operation is based on commercial management and is separated from National Grid’s and TenneT’s regulated activities. BritNed will enable customers to buy capacity through a combination of implicit and explicit auctions.
The joint venture is one of the European Union’s TEN-E priority projects for securing energy supply by strengthening power transmission capacity and creating a trans-European energy network.
At €600 million (~US$722m), BritNed is one of the largest power transmission projects ever undertaken in Europe and is due to enter commercial operation in 2011.