NorNed – a sustainability showcase for Europe

April 21, 2005 - An ABB HVDC link will interconnect the power grids of Norway and the Netherlands and achieve a number of European sustainability objectives including the large-scale integration of renewable energy sources, a massive reduction in CO2 emissions, and exceptionally low transmission losses.

By Editorial services

NorNed - a joint project between the two state-owned utilities, TenneT of the Netherlands and Statnett of Norway - is scheduled for completion in December 2007 and is already seen as a sustainability showcase in the European Union’s (EU) efforts to create an integrated and sustainable energy market for its 25 member states.

EU objectives include establishing power exchange interconnections between member states, integrating renewable energy sources into the European grid, optimizing the use of fossil fuel power plants, and significantly reducing CO2 emissions. NorNed meets these goals on all counts.

“Green” power
The 580-kilometer high voltage direct current (HVDC) link will have a 600 megawatt (MW) rating but will be able to continuously deliver 700 MW of power between the two grids in an optimal, economical and sustainable manner.

The Netherlands will import “green” hydropower from Norway during the day when demand is high, and export excess capacity from its thermal power stations during the night when demand is low.

This model achieves several targets: it enables the Netherlands to run fossil-fueled power plants efficiently at an optimal and constant base load, and it integrates renewable hydropower from Norway with the Dutch and European transmission grids. It also enables Norway, which is dependent on hydropower, to secure its energy supply with imported thermal power when water levels are below normal.

These measures are expected to yield a reduction in CO2 emissions of almost 1.7 million tons a year. With CO2 emissions trading at about €29 ($35.50) a ton on the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the reduction has a value of €49.3 million ($60.3 million) a year at current carbon trading rates (mid-July 2005).

ETS is the first international trading system for CO2 emissions in the world and is designed to help the 25 member states of the EU (and Norway and Switzerland) achieve emissions compliance at lower cost.

The Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) is a cornerstone in the fight against climate change. It is the first international trading system for CO2 emissions in the world, and covers some 12, 000 installations representing close to half of Europe’s CO2 emissions.

Low transmission losses
TenneT and Statnett will also benefit from the very low transmission losses of the ABB solution. At 3.7 percent this is half of what competing solutions were able to achieve and is worth several million euros a year to both utilities in transmission revenues.

The link will also boost the development of wind power in the Netherlands where there is a strong consumer movement for “green” power. The combination of stochastic wind power and hydropower is a particularly efficient mix.

ABB’s scope of supply includes state-of-the-art converter stations and HVDC cables. When completed NorNed will be the world’s longest underwater power transmission link - the cable used to make the link will weigh 40,000 tons.

ABB invented HVDC technology fifty years ago and has delivered more than 50 HVDC projects worldwide, more than half the global total.

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    Scheduled for completion in 2007, NorNed will connect the transmission grids of Norway and the Netherlands, allowing the two countries to exchange power over the longest underwater power transmission link in the world.

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