Work on expanding the electricity grid in Belgium

In November 2017, Elia celebrated the opening of the new HV Stevin connection, which upgrades the network between Zomergem and Zeebrugge. ENGIE Fabricom’s engineers installed the masts and cables.

Elia’s Stevin project responds to four major needs of the Belgian electricity grid:

  1. It can transport electricity generated by offshore wind farms to the shore and inland areas of Belgium.
  2. It permits an international undersea connection with the United Kingdom, reinforcing the import and export capacity between both countries.
  3. The expansion of the 380-kV grid in the Stevin project will significantly improve the electricity supply in the West-Flemish region, and facilitate further economic development at the port of Zeebrugge.
  4. It connects other sources of sustainable energy generation (wind, solar, biomass, cogeneration, etc.) in the coastal region.

Biggest high-voltage project in 40 years

The construction of the 47-km HV line between the new Zeebrugge HV substation and the existing Horta station in Zomergem is one of the largest projects of its type in the last 40 years. The capacity of the line is 3,000 MW, the equivalent of three large nuclear power plants.

The cable connection between Bruges and Dammes is underground. 2 new HV substations will have to be built to link the overhead power lines with the underground cable (De Spie and Van Maerlant substations).

ENGIE Fabricom’s role

ENGIE Fabricom was responsible for installing the HV pylons and conductor cables. Our installation engineers used a helicopter to attach the nylon pulling lines to the overhead power pylons, because of the dense urbanisation along the route and the intersection with busy traffic arteries and a lower HV line. We installed wooden gantries above the roads to protect traffic, and built a custom structure with two telescopic cranes to prevent the pulling lines from ending up on the existing high-voltage line. The entire operation ran flawlessly.