On December 2, 2022, the reinforced high-voltage interconnection between Avelin in France and Avelgem in Belgium, was officially inaugurated. A joint project by French grid operator RTE and Belgian grid operator Elia, this upgraded 380kV line doubles the electricity transmission capacity between France and Belgium from 3 to 6GW. A big step for both countries in addressing the need for more capacity to supply and exchange electricity, including from renewable energy production. The key to the upgrade of the interconnection are HTLS overhead conductors, which were produced and supplied by Lamifil for the Belgian side of the trajectory.
Addressing Future Needs of National and European Grids
Reinforcing the interconnection between France and Belgium is vital and supports several objectives. Firstly, by drastically increasing the exchange capacity, the line plays a key role in securing the supply of electricity in Belgium, France and Europe. Moreover, a hugely more powerful connection facilitates a smooth and increasing exchange of electricity between the local regions, the French and Belgian national grids and within the entire European network. Finally, bolstering this interconnection is vital to support the transition to and integration of renewable energy, especially wind power.
Advanced HTLS Overhead Conductors Provide the Key
The link between Avelin and Avelgem has existed since 1974, covering a distance of 20 km on the French side and 23 km on the Belgian side. The important interconnection upgrade was realized by reconductoring or replacing the current conductors of the double-circuit power line with new, advanced HTLS (High Temperature, Low Sag) conductors. These high-performance conductors, featuring a composite core, are designed to reduce sag while doubling the transmission capacity. Lamifil produced and delivered a total of 400km of ACCC®-Z Antwerp ULS Conductor.
“We are very pleased to have been part of this project, whose importance cannot be underestimated,” says Filip Goris, CEO of Lamifil. “Replacing old overhead conductors with advanced high-capacity overhead conductors is probably the fastest and most cost-effective way to strongly increase the capacity and robustness of grids all over the world, while at the same time reducing energy losses and CO2 emissions.”
Certainly, the Avelin-Avelgem interconnection upgrade is one of many projects that are being completed to strengthen the European grid. Lamifil has been a partner supplying many thousands of kms of efficient conductors for several of these upgrades, including the vital Avelgem-Gavrelle 400kV line in Northern France, the Brabo 380kV project around the Port of Antwerp and the “Beter Benutten Bestaande 380kV net” (Making Better Use of the Existing 380kV grid) project to shore up the entire Dutch high-voltage backbone.
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