Speeding up work before the renovation of the Leopold II tunnel begins
In connection with the work of the Site Coordination Committee, the various stakeholders, including Elia, were asked to speed up their work in the area affected by the Leopold II tunnel with a view to preventing work being carried out at the same time (which would have a major impact on traffic). Renovation of the tunnel is currently scheduled to start in early May, so Elia has begun (or will begin in the near future) to renovate the grid between Avenue de l'Héliport and Sainctelette on Quai des Charbonnages and Quai du Hainaut in the Simonis area and on Avenue des Gloires Nationales.
Protocol of 150 kV best practices concluded
Since May 2017, a mandatory protocol on laying new high-voltage cables in the Brussels-Capital Region has set out a series of best practices that now apply in said region when laying 150-kV cables. Taking into account the various social concerns to be reconciled (e.g. security of supply, investment management, impact on traffic and the environment), this protocol ensures in particular compliance with the minimum distance between homes and the site of the cable, and requires Elia to demonstrate to the regional government that it has made efforts to respect the preferred installation distances.
Since this protocol came into force, Elia has successfully plotted routes that comply with the minimum distances as well as the preferred distances for all projects to be implemented.
The renewal of the Brussels grid is one of a number of projects included in the Federal Development Plan.
Belgium’s regional and national authorities have tasked Elia with suggesting and subsequently making the most pertinent investments with a view to modifying the high-voltage electricity grid in light of developments on the energy market. The aim is to continue to guarantee the grid’s reliability and economic efficiency, as well as the longevity of the solutions chosen.
All projects carried out by Elia have received prior approval from the authorities within a federal plan and/or multiple regional plans. Elia also works closely with distribution system operators (DSOs).
The Brussels grid
The renewal of the Brussels grid fulfils three top aims:
- Replace infrastructure coming to the end of its service life.
- Take out of service oil-filled cable connections, as they pose a risk to the environment (land pollution).
- Guarantee the security and reliability of the region’s electricity supply while adapting to the changes to (current and potential) focal areas in consumption and the location of generation sites.
Phase 1: Brussels East
Phase 1 of the grid renewal focuses on the east of the Brussels-Capital Region. It involves restructuring the 150 kV connections between the substations in Schaerbeek, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Ixelles.
The current connection between Schaerbeek and Ixelles no longer guarantees the required reliability and poses an environmental risk; at the end of this phase, the connection will be completely taken out of service.
Elia will create three new 150-kV underground connections to replace the current connection:
- One connection between the electrical substations at Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Charles-Quint (rue Charles-Quint in Brussels). This connection is currently being finalised and runs through the municipalities of the City of Brussels, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Schaerbeek.
- One connection between the electrical substations at Schaerbeek and Charles-Quint. This connection was completed in August 2015, and runs through the municipalities of the City of Brussels and Schaerbeek.
- One connection between the electrical substations at Charles-Quint and Pacheco. This connection will be installed by 2019 and will run through the municipalities of the City of Brussels and Saint-Josse-ten-Noode.
Phase 2: Brussels West
The second phase focuses on the west of the Brussels-Capital Region. It involves the renewal and restructuring of the connections between the substations of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Héliport, and Bruegel (Dilbeek, Flemish Region).
As was the case in the east of Brussels, the overhaul of the Brussels West grid is intended to significantly reduce (by around 20%) the total length of cables in Brussels. With the four connections in question, a much greater length of existing cables will not need to be replaced.
The following connections are to be implemented by 2020:
Bruegel (in Dilbeek, Flemish Region) to Heliport, running through the communes of the City of Brussels, Molenbeek, Koekelberg and Ganshoren
Bruegel (in Dilbeek, Flemish Region) to Berchem-Ste-Agathe (commune of Berchem-Ste-Agathe)
Berchem-Ste-Agathe to Molenbeek (in the communes of Berchem-Ste-Agathe and Molenbeek)
Molenbeek to Heliport (in the communes of Molenbeek and the City of Brussels)
In the Brussels-Capital Region, Elia adheres to:
- the new Regional Government Ordinance of 3 July 2008 concerning worksites on roads;
- the Regional Government Decree of 11 July 2013 concerning the implementation of worksites on roads.
These pieces of legislation require more intensive coordination between public utility companies installing an infrastructure underground. They strive to limit the opening of streets with a view to minimising the nuisance caused by sites.
In contrast, before work begins, several authorities are responsible for issuing various permits according to their specific responsibilities (FPS Economy, the Region, the municipality) and a consultation on the chosen route is always held with the authorities in charge of roads before each project begins.
Since May 2017, a specific protocol for the construction of 150kV cables under public roads has also been established with the Brussels region.
|Federal (or regional) plan
- Determines the connections to link one point to another, the commissioning date, the estimated budget
|Project launch (Elia and road authorities)
- Analysis of underground utilities
- Analysis of the route (topographical surveys, sounding if required)
Extensive analysis of the route as described in the objectives of the regional protocol (adjustment if necessary)
- Route recorded in OSIRIS schedules
- Presentation of the route during transfers of the site schedules (Municipalities and Region)
|Road permit (FPS)
- Submission of an extensive file
- Various consultations conducted by the FPS (42 days to issue opinions)
- Royal Decree (comprising the advice of the FPS as well as the list of streets affected per municipality)
|Site Coordination Committee (CCC)
- Planning work and the details of the phases for laying the connection
- Requests launched in OSIRIS
- Submission to the Committee (CCC)
- Transfer of decisions to Elia and road authorities (via OSIRIS)
- Contact with the government to apply specific regulations
- Implement the various practical elements associated with the site (use of the road, mobility, safety)
- Execution of the site, section by section
Laying the underground connection
Laying an underground connection in an urban environment requires a specific structure. To guarantee the continuation of acceptable mobility conditions, work is normally structured by sections measuring approximately 450 metres and in a non-linear manner. It would be difficult to open a huge 7-km site in one go, which would run the risk of obstructing traffic over an excessive distance for several months. Furthermore, every 150-kV cable reel can only cover a maximum of 1 km.
As such, for certain sections, this structure requires pipes to be laid in which the cables are later installed.
The three cables forming the connection are installed in a consecutive cloverleaf formation or in pipes.
Installation in a consecutive cloverleaf formation
Installation in pipes
Elia is concerned about the environmental impact of its works from a number of perspectives.
By using the grid overhaul to minimise the amount of underground cables, we are limiting the impact of our works on the well-being of Brussels residents, and drastically reducing our use of raw materials. We are actively participating in the coordination of worksites in Brussels for the same reason. The Region is currently experiencing a wave of investment that is vital but inconvenient for local residents and road users. Major efforts are being made to optimise the timetable for these works.
As for the issue of magnetic fields, Elia is not content with just complying very broadly with all the standards and recommendations in force, it also applies the precautionary principle very strictly, as evidenced by the protocol signed with the Brussels Capital Region for the installation of 150 kV cables.
The full project team will be available to answer your questions by telephone on the freephone number 0800 18 002 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.