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Towards an energy-interconnected Europe

Author: Gramigna

The dream of a completely fossil-independent Europe with green energy available in a safe and affordable way seems possible. If all Member States would cooperate to exchange energy from renewable sources, the European Union could become completely energy self-sufficient. How would this be possible? Through the exchange of energy between countries. Germany and Norway are already doing this with a project called NordLink, which connects two renewable energy production systems – German wind power and Norwegian hydropower. How does the system work? Whenever surplus wind energy is produced in Germany, it can be transmitted via the NordLink pipeline to Norway. The reservoirs in Norway therefore act as natural storage for wind energy as the water remains in the reservoirs. In contrast, Germany can import hydropower from Norway when demand is high.

NordLink is implemented as a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission between Germany and Norway with a route length of 623 km, of which 516 km are implemented as a submarine cable. Due to its length, direct current is used to transmit electricity through both cables (positive and negative pole), which are connected to converter stations at each end. Conversion stations are built in Wilster, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany, and Tonstad in Norway. At these sites, electricity is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), or vice versa, depending on the direction of transmission, and fed into the German or Norwegian transmission grid to supply households and businesses with electricity. In absolute terms, NordLink can supply around 3.6 million German households.

NordLink is the first interconnector to provide a direct connection between the Norwegian and German energy markets. This connection promotes the integration of the Northwest European energy market, increases market efficiency and contributes to the stabilisation of energy prices.

The NordLink project was implemented by the Norwegian TSO Statnett and DC Nordseekabel GmbH & Co. KG, each with 50% ownership. TenneT and KfW each hold a 50% share in DC Nordseekabel.