NordLink interconnector links German windpower with Norwegian hydro capacity
Clean Energy Wire
NordLink, the world's longest subsea electrical interconnector linking Norway and Germany, has begun operation exchanging wind energy and hydropower between the two countries. A consortium comprising of Dutch grid operator TenneT, German development bank KfW and Norwegian grid operator Statnett has taken over the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system with a capacity of 1.4 gigawatt from converter manufacturer Hitachi ABB Power Grids. The move marks NordLink’s transition from the trial to the operational phase nearly five years after construction work began on the project, whose total costs are estimated to range between 1.7 and 1.8 billion euros. “NordLink is now in the operation phase – this is good news for the European energy transition,” said Markus Scheer, member of the management board at KfW IPEX-Bank. “By connecting the Norwegian and the German energy markets we can achieve supply security and stable energy prices while increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix.” NordLink is regarded as a "battery" for Germany's power system, as it allows the transfer of excess renewable electricity to Norwegian pumped hydropower stations while at times of low wind power production in Germany, Norwegian dams can feed power back into the German grid. The 623 km long cable runs between Tonstad in Norway’s Sirdal municipality and the German town of Wilster in Schleswig-Holstein.
NordLink began trial operation in December 2020, making the cable link between the two countries available to the electricity market for the first time. Tennet COO Tim Meyerjürgens described NordLink as “a major international flagship project of the European energy transition.” NordLink “brings Europe another step closer to its vision of an interconnected and carbon-neutral energy system,” added Niklas Persson, managing director of Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ Grid Integration business unit. The NordLink consortium is a 50-50 venture between Statnett and DC Nordseekabel GmbH & Co.KG, a company equally owned by TenneT and KfW.