The Environmental Impact Study for the pre-project to upgrade the overhead line between Avelgem and Avelin is now under way. Arcadis, the firm carrying out the study, has been charged with examining all the ways in which the project could impact the environment and submitting recommendations to Elia so that Elia can reorient the project if necessary. Once the study has been completed, Elia will set up an information point for communicating with local residents.
The time has now come to conduct the Environmental Impact Study for the pre-project to upgrade the HV line between the Avelgem and Avelin substations. All comments received in the 15 days following the advance public information meeting have been passed on for analysis to Arcadis, the independent authorised consultancy performing the study.
The study is structured as follows:
A detailed description of the project;
An environmental assessment of the project;
- A review of alternatives that may reasonably be considered by the requester;
An overview of the project's effects on the territory of neighbouring regions and countries;
Responses to the comments submitted by the public;
Conclusions and recommendations.
The environmental impact study is an orientation tool for the requester, a decision support tool for the authorities and an information source for the public.
The study for the Avelgem-Avelin project will be completed at some point in October, at which point Elia will undertake to set up an information point for sharing the study's findings and recommendations with local residents before the permit application is submitted.
The project team can be reached by telephone on 0800 18 002 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avelgem-Avelin: Authorisation procedure in Wallonia
At the advance public information meeting on 21 June 2017, Elia presented its preliminary plans to upgrade the HV overhead line connecting the Avelgem and Avelin substations and gathered questions, comments and suggestions from the local residents in attendance.
As provided for in Walloon legislation, citizens also had the opportunity to send their comments to the Celles municipal administration with a copy to Elia up until 6 July 2017.
This 15-day period is now closed. Elia has forwarded both the minutes of the meeting on 21 June - drawn up by the designated municipal authority - and the letters received to Arcadis, the independent consultancy authorised by the Walloon Region, so that it can conduct the Environmental Impact Study.
The impact study report is expected in Q4 2017. It will provide responses to the comments made at the information session. Elia will then analyse it to identify any additional action and adjustments required in relation to the preliminary plans presented to the public on 21 June.
In the meantime, the project team can be reached by telephone on the freephone number 0800 12 008 and by e-mail at email@example.com.
Advance Public Information Meeting
Elia plans to upgrade the 380 kV overheard connection linking the Avelgem and Avelin substations by 2021. This link in the European transmission system has become increasingly important in recent years. Upgrading the line is crucial for enabling energy exchanges with neighbouring countries, ensuring security of supply and meeting renewables targets as defined by the Walloon Region.
As required by law, Elia presented its preliminary plans to local residents at the advance public information meeting held on 21 June in Celles. The meeting was an opportunity for Elia to collect comments and suggestions from those present.
The meeting marked the official launch of the environmental impact study, which will last from six to nine months. The study is being conducted Arcadis, an independent consultancy authorised by the Walloon Region.
Local residents have two weeks after the 21 June meeting to send in questions and comments.
Letters can be sent:
- to the Celles town council (Rue Parfait, 14, 7760 Celles)
- with a copy to: Elia Asset SA, FAO Christian Kerremans, Boulevard de l’Empereur, 20, 1000 Brussels.
Elia is here for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by telephone on 0800 18 002 or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Planning permit application procedure begins
Elia plans to upgrade the 380-kV overheard connection linking the Avelgem and Avelin substations by 2021.
This infrastructure project is vital to the Belgian grid for several reasons. It is subject to the legislation on planning permits, so Elia is currently in the process of applying for a permit from the Walloon Region.
The advance public information meeting: the first time the draft project is officially presented to the public
The administrative permit application procedure for projects of this type requires an advance public information meeting to be held so that the draft project can be officially presented to the public for the first time.
Elia is holding the advance public information meeting for the project at 7.30 p.m. on 21 June 2017 in the events room (Salle des Fêtes) of Celles town hall, Rue Parfait 14, 7760 Celles.
Local residents will have 15 days from the date of the meeting (21 June) to submit their questions and comments in writing. These will be taken into account in the environmental impact study.
As well as the official and mandatory advance public information meeting, we are organising a further drop-in information session in this 15-day period so that local residents can find out about the project in a less formal setting.
The drop-in session will run from 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. on 22 June 2017 and will take place in Pecq town hall.
Please feel free to come along if this project affects you. We will be on hand to answer your questions and hear your comments.
Avelgem-Avelin Wallonia and Flanders
The existing 380-kV Mercator-Avelin overhead line is 110 km long and passes through 25 municipalities in the Flemish and Walloon Regions before continuing into France. For administrative purposes, this major project is divided into three sub-projects:
- Mercator-Horta (Flanders): 49 km;
- Horta-Avelgem (Flanders): 40 km;
- Avelgem-Avelin (Flanders and Wallonia): 23 km.
This 380-kV high-voltage overhead connection, regarded as one of the backbones of the Belgian power grid, requires an upgrade if it is to meet the future needs of the electricity transmission system.
The Avelgem-Avelin project is all about upgrading the connection, which runs through both Flanders and Wallonia.
- In Flanders, the new route takes in two municipalities: Avelgem and Kluisbergen.
- In Wallonia, the project affects five municipalities: Mont-de-l’Enclus, Celles, Pecq, Estaimpuis and Tournai.
The part of the project in the Walloon Region is subject to a different permit application procedure than in the Flemish Region. To avoid any confusion, when information is provided about this project, this will be done based on the region involved:
- Avelgem-Avelin FLANDERS;
- Avelgem-Avelin WALLONIA.
The line needs to be upgraded for three reasons:
- Interconnection: by upgrading the Avelgem-Avelin overhead connection, Elia is making it possible to export and import more electricity to and from neighbouring countries on the emerging European market, thus boosting security of supply.
- Integration of renewable energy: enhancing the Avelgem-Avelin connection will allow new green and decentralised generation units to be connected to the grid – the power they generate cannot currently be transmitted to consumers because the grid is saturated. The upgrade will enable the grid to accommodate the electricity generated by new offshore wind farms.
- Grid performance: thanks to the upgraded connection, it will be possible to transmit more electricity on a more reliable grid. The technology used for the link will further boost the performance of the infrastructure.
Elia is planning to carry out three types of work to achieve these three aims:
The conventional AMS (aluminium-magnesium-silicon) conductors are to be replaced with a new type of HTLS (High-Temperature Low-Sag) conductors. These are more efficient and cut down on crackle.
Elia is rolling out this technology to benefit residents.
The foundations are currently being monitored. If necessary, they will be reinforced with micro-piles or drilled foundation piles so as to meet the latest standards. Shoring up the foundations with concrete posts will make the pylons more stable.
The pylons will be reinforced by adding angle irons, which will be almost imperceptible. The angle irons are to be added to the tops of the pylons.
The pylons will be reinforced by adding some angle irons, which will be almost imperceptible.
Avelgem-Avelin: a large-scale project
Elia plans to upgrade the 2x380 kV high-voltage overhead connection linking the Avelgem (BE) and Avelin (FR) substations by 2021. The current line was built in the 1970s.
This interconnection project links the Belgian and French grids and affects five Walloon municipalities: Mont-de-l’Enclus, Celles, Pecq, Estaimpuis and Tournai. It covers a distance of 21 km and comprises 49 pylons.
It is part of the Mercator-Avelin high-voltage overhead connection, which is regarded as one of the backbones of the Belgian power grid and spans 110 km and 25 municipalities in Flanders and Wallonia before continuing to France.
The permit application: a process anchored in dialogue
A planning permit will be required for the project to upgrade the overhead line between Avelgem and Avelin. The permit application will be submitted to the Walloon Region officials in charge, DGO 4 Mons.
For infrastructure projects like this one, the relevant legislation requires permit applications to include a study analysing the environmental impact that the project could have on the local area (environmental impact study).
In the case of the Avelgem – Avelin project, there is also a legal requirement to hold an advance public information meeting and a public consultation. These are two opportunities for the project developer to meet with local residents.
2015: Project included in the 2015 – 2025 Federal Development Plan, approved by the Minister of Energy
February-May 2017: Local partners informed and consulted
May-June 2017: Meetings organised with owners and/or operators
21 June 2017: Advance public information meeting held in Celles – official presentation of the project. Anyone who wishes to submit comments to Elia has 15 days from the date of the advance public information meeting to do so (i.e. until 6 July 2017).
22 June 2017: Individual discussions organised in Pecq.
May -October 2017: Environmental impact study conducted by the independent authorised consultancy Arcadis
October -November 2017: InfoMarkets organised to present the results of the Environmental Impact Study
Late 2017: Permit applications submitted to the Walloon Region and the federal authorities
January -February 2018: Public consultation – local residents review the full planning permit application files and have 30 days in which to submit their comments to the municipal authorities
Late 2021: Commissioning
Elia is committed to transparent communication and can be contacted throughout the project by calling 0800 18 002 or emailing email@example.com.
Throughout its project, Elia will ensure that it takes all necessary measures to limit the work’s impact, maintain residents’ quality of life and preserve the environment at large.
Elia is planning to carry out the work involved in the Avelgem-Avelin project in two successive stages.
1st year: strengthening foundations and reinforcing pylons – 2018
- Foundation work: the drilling will be done in the first two weeks. After that, it will take two to three weeks to make the concrete connecting block.
- Pylon reinforcement: the work to be done here depends on the type of pylon and the pylon’s characteristics, and can take anything from a few days to several weeks. The procedure we follow depends on the part of the pylon we are working on. For instance, if we are working on the top of the pylon (where the conductors are), we need to switch off one of the two circuits, which we can only do for a pre-determined period.
2nd and 3rd years: replacing conductors – 2019-2021
- We need to switch off the circuits to work on the conductors. The first circuit is set to be replaced in 2020, the second in 2021. It should take around three months to complete the work that requires the circuits to be switched off, once all the preparatory work is done (e.g. building access roads, setting up protective measures).
You could compare managing the high-voltage grid with managing a road network, with ‘motorways’, larger and smaller ‘roads’, and the necessary interchanges. Whenever a ‘road’ is out of service for a given period, another ‘road’ takes over from it to ensure security of supply for households. This system enables Elia to avoid power cuts.
According to our provisional schedule, the project is expected to last three years. But that does not mean that your local area will be affected for three years, as we are going to work section by section. Moreover, Elia is committed to communicating proactively with residents before work begins, in partnership with the municipalities concerned.
Investing in the future
One of the aims of the project is to enable the integration of renewable energy.
We are currently in a period of major transition linked to irrevocable changes in the energy landscape. EU requirements on renewable energy generation (at least 20% of the country's needs to be met by renewable energy by 2020) are ambitious and will accelerate changes in our generation methods and their decentralisation.
The Belgian grid needs to be upgraded and adapted to meet these emerging challenges. With electricity no longer being generated only by a central player but by multiple generators, with facilities in sunny and windy locations, we have to be able to transmit that electricity to all parts of the country, as we do today.
Elia therefore plans to upgrade the current 2x380 kV connection.
Biodiversity: an opportunity
Elia regularly works with external partners to examine opportunities for developing biodiversity in the areas crossed by its infrastructure.
The aim is to create projects that enhance the ecological network and improve the habitat for flora and fauna, sometimes in innovative ways.
A number of such projects are currently being examined:
- Landscaping the area around pylon bases to create habitats for plants and wildlife.
- Transforming forest corridors beneath high-voltage lines into eco-corridors.
- Bird markers : bird markers are spirals fitted onto conductors to make the cables more visible to birds and so avoid collisions.
Creating a denser ecological network (by planting hedges, trees, etc.).
- Installing nest boxes on pylon bases.
Elia wants to include the Avelgem-Avelin project in this drive to develop local biodiversity.
Communication is one of Elia's priorities, along with respecting the environment and securing the region's power supply.
Elia is committed to transparent and proactive communication in all the projects it undertakes. Any member of the public can contact the company with concerns or questions throughout the process, from the advance public information meeting through to the completion of works and commissioning of the connections.
Elia is here for you
Please don't hesitate to contact us because we strive for total transparency in our relations with both local authorities and local residents!
- Free phone number : 0800 18 002
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Correspondence : Elia, Communication Department, Boulevard de l’Empereur, 20, B-1000 Brussels