ALEGrO


January 2017

Work on the ALEGrO project to begin

All the permits and authorisations relating to the completion of the Belgian part of the ALEGrO high-voltage underground connection project having been granted, 15 January marked the beginning of construction work on its three infrastructure facilities: the underground connection, microtunnel and converter station.

At various meetings organised with the municipalities and local residents, everyone was given an opportunity to voice their views, feelings and expectations so that the resulting project could maximally respect both the living environment and quality of life of the inhabitants of the 14 municipalities involved.

Being committed to providing accurate and detailed information, we have produced a map that will be updated as work progresses, enabling headway made in the project to be monitored over time. Please feel free to consult it here.

First interconnector between Belgium and Germany

The ALEGrO project, the first electricity interconnector between Belgium and Germany, can now begin after acquiring the necessary permits and authorisations. Work is scheduled to start in mid-January and Elia expects construction to take two years.

As a reminder, the ALEGrO project will be the first interconnector between Belgium and Germany. It will pass through 14 municipalities and span 90 km (49 km in Belgium and 41 km in Germany). The project has three major objectives:

  1. efficiently integrate renewable energy;
  2. contribute to price convergence;
  3. enhance the security of the power supply.

Read the press release

May 2017

Round of evening meetings has come to an end 

Thank you to everyone who came to meet the ALEGrO project team at one of the four information evenings organised by Elia. It was a pleasure to inform you about the project and the changes made to it following the the Environmental Impact Study's recommendations, and to answer your questions. Thank you also to the mayors and administrative authorities of the four municipalities who welcomed us for their help in organising these evenings.

The project will now be analysed by the regional and federal authorities. We are expecting them to make a decision by the end of 2017.

We will keep you updated about this decision and the next steps in the procedure.

Organisation of four evening meetings

In the scope of its ALEGrO project, Elia has applied for the necessary permits with the Walloon Region.

As of 2 May, the project will be the subject of a public inquiry for the duration of 30 days. You can consult the entire dossier at the relevant administrative offices.

Of its own accord and in the scope of its transparency policy, Elia will organise 4 meetings to present the evolution of the project following the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and to answer your questions on the subject. CSD, the independent and officially certified agency that drew up the EIA, will also be invited to present the conclusions of its assessment.

The Elia team looks forward to welcoming you at your convenience:

  • On 10 May between 7 pm and 9pm, hall of the Musée des Arbalétriers, rue Haute 46 in 4600 Visé
  • On 11 May between 5 pm and 9 pm, community hall, rue de l’Eglise 46 in 4710 Lontzen
  • On 15 May between 5 pm and 8 pm, meeting room of the municipal administration, rue des Ecoles 4 in 4684 Haccourt (Oupeye)
  • On 18 May between 6 pm and 8 pm, council chamber of the city of Herve in administrative centre Marie-Thérèse, rue du Collège 26 in 4650 Herve

The entire ALEGrO project team will be at your disposal. We hope to see you in large numbers!

Until then, you can reach us at telephone number 0800 18 002 or via e-mail to alegro@elia.be.  


 

14 March 2017

Creative meeting in the scope of the ALEGrO project

Yesterday afternoon, the ALEGrO project was the centre of attention at the Colonster Castle in Liège. The Belgian-German interconnection was the topic of a panel discussion organised by Liège Créative.

It was the perfect occasion for Stefaan Vanden Berghe and Els Celens, the project managers, to remind the participants of the stakes and objectives of Elia and ALEGrO, as well as to highlight the excellent cooperation with Amprion, Elia's colleague on the other side of the border.

The event was also attended by Siemens, which won the European tender for the construction of the converter station in Lixhe. The company was represented by Alain Belvaux, who shared Siemens' construction methods and the functioning of the station with the public: a world premier!

The entire ALEGrO team was thrilled with this opportunity to present such a major project to the creative and enterprising individuals of Liège. We would like to thank the Liège Créative team for their invitation!

March 2017

Submission of permit applications

Following the completion of the environmental impact study last February, Elia has finalised the permit application for the ALEGrO project and officially sent it to the PCI’s one-stop-shop, which will assess its completeness. Once the file has been deemed complete, it can be submitted to the municipal authorities and the bodies concerned.

This is an important step in the process, and it brings us closer to a meeting with you, the local residents. Once the various authorities concerned have studied the project, these documents will be made available to you for a period of thirty days at the town and country planning department of each municipality involved.

In order to help interested parties better understand the details of the project and to answer any questions you may have, Elia will be organising info evenings a number of times during the 30-day public inquiry. We will be sure to keep you informed of the dates and times of these info evenings.

We look forward to meeting you at one of these info sessions and in the meantime please do not hesitate to call us free of charge on 0800 18 002 or send us an email at: alegro@elia.be.

December 2016

Discover the ALEGrO project in this video ( in French ) :

November 2016

Amprion and Elia grant the construction of two converter stations to Siemens

Elia and Amprion signed the contracts with General Cable and Siemens for the establishment of the cable in direct current over a distance of 90 km and for the two converter stations.

 

October 2016

Residents of the municipalities covered by the ALEGrO project (namely Visé, Oupeye, Herstal, Liège, Blegny, Soumagne, Herve, Thimister-Clermont, Welkenraedt, Limbourg, Baelen, Eupen, Lontzen and Raeren) are cordially invited to an advance public briefing:

  • Tuesday 18 October 2016 at 8 p.m., Salle des Arbalétriers, Rue Haute 46, 4600 Visé

Residents are also welcome to attend two additional information sessions:

  • Wednesday 19 October at 8 p.m., Council chamber, Rue du Collège 26, 4650 Herve
  • Thursday 20 October at 8 p.m., community school hall, Hauptstrasse 45, 4730 Raeren

Elia's ALEGrO team is hoping to meet you at these events to hear your thoughts about the project.

Link to the official invitation ( in French )

June 2016

Local television channel RTC télé-Liège attended the ALEGrO project exhibition at Oupeye town hall on Wednesday, 1 June 2016. This exhibition gave local residents the chance to have their questions answered and speak to officials from Elia and the municipal authorities, as well as an independent expert from the Scientific Institute of Public Services (ISSeP). It also gave Elia the opportunity to present itself, the ALEGrO project and the result of the measurement taken at Calais at a connection similar to that planned by the ALEGrO project.

Discover their reportage

Mei 2016

Elia and the municipality of Oupeye: two partners visit Calais

On Wednesday, 25 May 2016 , at the request of Oupeye municipal council, a delegation from Oupeye went to Calais (northern France) to visit a site with an underground connection similar to that planned by the ALEGrO project.


The Mayor of Oupeye, the Alderman for Health, and the Town Planning Department official heading the case were accompanied by Paul Bernard (an independent expert from the Scientific Institute of Public Services (ISSeP), who was appointed by the municipal authorities) and some local residents who had been invited along after expressing their concerns about the project.

The purpose of the trip was to see first-hand the result of the measurement taken by the expert. The expert measured the magnetic field, which proved to be the same as that of the Earth, thus achieving the aim of checking that connections like this actually have no impact on terrestrial magnetic fields.

Both the local residents and the representatives of the Oupeye municipal authorities were satisfied with this demonstration.

Exhibition at Oupeye town hall 

The municipal council also asked Elia to organise an exhibition in the town hall to answer citizens' questions about the ALEGrO project in its current phase.

This exhibition would give local residents the chance to speak to officials from Elia and the municipal authorities, as well as an independent expert from ISSeP. It would also give Elia the opportunity to present itself, the ALEGrO project and the result of the measurement taken at Calais at a connection similar to that planned by the ALEGrO project.

The project

ALEGrO will span 90 km, including 49 km in Belgium.

  1. The route
    The cable connection will run from the existing substation at Lixhe to the E40 car park at Eynatten (Raeren).
    ALEGrO will mainly use existing infrastructure (towpaths, motorways and Infrabel infrastructure). The route was selected from a number of options in consultation with the local authorities to have the least possible impact on local residents and the environment.
    •    January 2016 – Sector Plan Revision:

      Discover the ALEGrO plot in this video

  2. Capacity
    The connection's transmission capacity will be 1,000 MW, equivalent to a tenth of Belgium’s average power consumption.
  3. Technology
    This underground connection will use DC technology, which is currently the best option in Europe for transmitting an HV current of such capacity and over such a distance.

  4. The underground connection
    The connection between the converter stations comprises two cables. Both cables, which are 12 cm in diameter, will be buried along the entire route, thereby not impacting on the landscape.

  

  • For more information on the project's features, consult our brochure (PDF) (in French)

 

Objectives

For more security

The ALEGrO project is essential for three reasons:

  1. Security of supply    
    ALEGrO is one of a number of major projects aimed at sustaining Belgium's security of supply in the medium and long term. Interconnections with neighbouring countries must be strengthened because European countries need to be able to import at least 15% of their national output from (or export it to) their neighbours. The ALEGrO project will help to protect the grid against blackouts and power shortages at peak times.   
  2. Integration of renewables
    EU requirements that green energy generation must meet 20% of the country's needs by 2020 may be ambitious, but Belgium is firmly committed to fulfilling them. The ALEGrO project will enable renewable energy to be harnessed and transmitted efficiently to consumers.
  3. Price convergence
    Opportunities for energy exchanges between Germany and Belgium may help to lower prices on the energy market.

What are the benefits for everyone involved?

  • higher import and export capacities between Belgium and Germany;
  • mitigation of the risk of mismatches between available generation capacity and consumption needs in both countries;
  • greater security of supply through the diversification of available energy sources;
  • the effective integration and circulation of renewable energy;
  • broader competition on the electricity market, benefiting companies and the community;
  • downward pressure on energy prices by promoting opportunities for energy exchanges between neighbouring countries.

 

How?

A project in partnership

This project is vital for the community, and Elia is intent on implementing it in partnership with the local authorities to minimise the impact on local residents. When work begins, the project partners will have to cooperate more closely on a daily basis.

Every effort will be made to limit noise and disruption while work is ongoing:
  • To mitigate the impact on mobility
    Measures will be taken in conjunction with the relevant authorities (e.g. works departments, police) and local residents (e.g. laying down metal sheeting).
  • To curb noise
    Noisy work will only be carried out during working hours (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) unless otherwise agreed with the relevant authorities in order to reduce their impact on mobility at specific times.
Once the project is finished:
  • municipal and regional infrastructure will be restored to pristine condition based on a survey conducted before work began.

Provisional schedule

The ALEGrO project will comprise three stages:

  1. The first stage consists of an initial review of sector plans, which Elia began in 2013 and has now completed. This procedure aimed to set a reservation perimeter for the second stage: the permit application.
  2. The second stage entails submitting the permit application to the Walloon authorities. The project requires a single permit, a road permit and a declaration of public utility, and is part of a project of common interest (PCI) procedure.
    The single permit necessitates the completion of an environmental impact study (EIS). A public information meeting must be held in advance. Any questions or comments by the public will be considered in the EIS, which is annexed to the single permit application.
    The competent authorities will reach an overall decision on all permits in accordance with EU Regulation No. 347/2013.
  3. The third stage involves the commencement of work
    This means constructing the converter station and laying the underground connection. The aim is to commission the interconnection by 2020.

 

Works

Follow the works

Respecting the environment is our priority

The ALEGrO project will necessitate various works. Every effort will be made to ensure that these works always respect the environment.

The converter station

The converter station will be located on land owned by Elia at Lixhe, next to the existing substation. Cutting-edge technology and equipment will be used to make the converter station as efficient as possible and keep noise and disruption to a minimum. It will also be lined with trees to blend it into the landscape.

 

 

 

Choosing the best route

The route of the underground connection mainly follows existing infrastructure: the E40 motorway, the towpath and the Brussels-Cologne high-speed rail link. As far as possible, it avoids urban areas, areas of special biological interest and Natura 2000 areas, and takes account of mobility requirements whilst work is being carried out.


Three cable-laying techniques

  1. Trenches
    Over most of the route, a trench 1.80 m deep and 1 m wide will be dug in sections that are each 1 km long. On average, work on each section will last six weeks. The aims are to minimise the impact on mobility and preserve the biotope.

     

  2. Directional drilling
    The directional drilling technique will be used to facilitate digging underneath major infrastructure like intersections, interchanges or the high-speed railway line.

  3. The microtunnel under the Meuse and the canal
    At the Cheratte flyover, Elia will dig a microtunnel under the Meuse and the canal so that the cables can pass beneath them. This project will use the very latest techniques.

Whenever Elia carries out building work, it makes a point of restoring all existing infrastructure (roads, RAVeL pathways) to their previous state.

  • For more information on the work, see our brochure (PDF) (in French)   
  • January 2016 – Sector Plan Revision:

Environment

A project in partnership

This project is vital for the community, and Elia is intent on implementing it in partnership with the local authorities to minimise the impact on local residents. When work begins, the project partners will have to cooperate more closely on a daily basis.

Every effort will be made to limit noise and disruption while work is ongoing:
  • To mitigate the impact on mobility
    Measures will be taken in conjunction with the relevant authorities (e.g. works departments, police) and local residents (e.g. laying down metal sheeting).
  • To curb noise
    Noisy work will only be carried out during working hours (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) unless otherwise agreed with the relevant authorities in order to reduce their impact on mobility at specific times.
Once the project is finished:
  • municipal and regional infrastructure will be restored to pristine condition based on a survey conducted before work began.

Elia wishes to keep you informed and is willing to address your concerns throughout the project, from the advance public information meeting to the connection's entry into service. When the mobile construction site reaches your municipality, you will be kept informed of the work schedule and progress made.

Throughout the entire procedure and whilst work continues, the full project team will be available to answer your questions by telephone on the freephone number 0800 18 002 or by e-mail: alegro@elia.be.