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Elia joins US offshore HVDC project

The Atlantic Wind Connection project, which Elia has just joined, aims to develop the first offshore high voltage direct current system in the US.

By Isabella Kaminski

Elia, the Belgian Transmission System Operator, has joined organisations such as Google, Marubeni, Good Energies and Atlantic Grid Development in the Atlantic Wind Connection project.

The project, based off the East Coast of the US, aims to develop the first offshore high voltage direct current (HVDC) system in the US using multi-terminal HVDC systems and voltage sourced converters. This would enable the connection of up to 7,000 MW of offshore wind produced off the coasts of several Mid-Atlantic states: New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The Atlantic system, which will be divided into five segments, is expected to be up to 556km long and has an estimated cost of US$5.5 billion (£3.4b).

Brussels-based Elia is now a shareholder in the project, having acquired from Atlantic Grid Development a strategic 10% minority participation in the first segment and a 5% minority participation in the other four segments.

Elia has also entered into a long-term consultancy contract with Atlantic Grid Development (the Atlantic Wind Connection’s project developer). Under this contract, Elia will add its expertise in the design and development of offshore/electricity highways in Europe to the project.

Daniel Dobbeni, Chief Executive Officer of Elia and Chairman of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), says: “We look forward to joining the shareholders of, and to bringing our expertise to, this challenging and innovative project. We share their vision regarding the strategic importance of carbon-free production of electricity and massive integration of wind energy into the grid. The cooperation and synergies that we will develop together will benefit a greener planet.”

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power