Mercator - Horta


December 2016

Elia submits permit application for the Mercator-Horta PCI

On 18 November, Elia submitted a permit application for the Mercator-Horta project to the Permit Coordination and Facilitation Committee (VCFC/CCFA) one-stop shop, which coordinates permit procedures for projects of common interest (PCIs). This ensured that the application processes for the planning permit, the declaration of public utility and the highway permit all started at the same time. The applications are now undergoing the usual procedure with each of the competent bodies.

Elia's Mercator-Horta project involves renovating the high-voltage line between Mercator high-voltage substation in Kruibeke and Horta substation in Zomergem. More specifically, the AMS conductors on the line are being replaced with high-performance HTLS conductors, the pylons and foundations are being reinforced, and Elia is making adjustments to the switchgear at Mercator high-voltage substation.

A public consultation is currently underway as part of the three permit procedures. The plans and documents relating to the applications will be available for viewing in the affected towns and municipalities (Zomergem, Lovendegem, Waarschoot, Evergem, Ghent, Lochristi, Moerbeke, Lokeren, Sint-Niklaas, Waasmunster, Temse and Kruibeke) throughout the entire consultation period. Digital copies can be found under the Documents tab. Any complaints or comments about the applications must be submitted in writing to the mayor and aldermen of one of the affected towns and municipalities.

The axis from Mercator to Horta is an overhead high-voltage line that was built in the 1970s and crosses 12 municipalities over a distance of 49 km.

Elia will carry out three jobs on the line:

  • Replace conductors
    The classic AMS conductors (Aluminium-Magnesium-Silicon) will be replaced by high-performance HTLS conductors (High Temperature Low Sag). This latter type has a higher transport capacity and sags less.
  • Investigate and where necessary reinforce pylons and foundations
    There are various types of pylon on the Mercator-Horta line. Elia will investigate whether these pylons need replacing or reinforcing. The foundations will also be checked and where necessary reinforced.
  • Modifications to Mercator high-voltage substation
    The necessary modifications to the switching equipment will be made at the Mercator high-voltage substation in Kruibeke.

 

Nut

The Mercator-Horta line is an overhead high-voltage line built in the 1970s. It is essential that the conductors of the Mercator-Horta line are replaced and strengthened, for three reasons:

  1. Higher import capacity, good for security of supply
    Strengthening the Mercator-Horta axis makes it possible to import more electricity from abroad. That is good for security of supply and economic development in Europe and Belgium.
  2. Integration of renewable energy
    The increased capacity will also make it possible to connect new generation units to the grid. The Mercator-Horta axis is very important, for example, for the new offshore wind farms.
  3. Evolution towards a European energy market
    Elia’s investments have been considered in a European context. Europe is asking its Member States to provide sufficient transmission capacity to and from abroad to improve international trade opportunities and make the energy price more competitive.

Mercator-Horta

The applications for a planning permit, a declaration of public utility and a highway permit have now been submitted to the Permit Coordination and Facilitation Committee's one-stop shop. A public consultation on these applications is currently running in the affected towns and municipalities.

Progress

The first step in the permit process is an environmental impact report (“project-MER”). This examines the various environmental impacts on landscape, man and nature and the environment, both for the works and for the operational phase. The complete list of environmental impacts that are investigated can be found in the “notification document on the project-MER to replace conductors from Mercator to Horta”. This document is available for consultation from Elia (info@elia.be or +32 3 640 07 22), the MER department of the Flemish government and the municipalities located in the project area:

  • Zomergem, Lovendegem, Waarschot, Evergem, Ghent, Lochristi, Moerbeke, Lokeren, Sint-Niklaas, Waasmunster, Temse and Kruibeke.
  • You can also consult the notification file on the website of the MER department of the Flemish government (in Dutch) using the file number (file number=2240).

Next steps

Once the necessary investigations have been carried out, an application for a planning permit is made to the Flemish government. The planning officers in the relevant provinces will obtain the opinion of the bodies concerned and organise a public consultation. The procedure for the highway permit and for a declaration of public utility will run in parallel with the procedure for the planning permit. A public consultation will take place while this procedure is ongoing. Work is scheduled to begin from 2017 on.

 

The Mercator-Horta line runs from the municipality of Kruibeke (Mercator high-voltage substation) to the municipality of Zomergem (Horta substation) over a distance of 49 km.

The line lies entirely within the province of East Flanders and crosses 12 municipalities:

  • Zomergem, Lovendegem, Waarschot, Evergem, Ghent, Lochristi, Moerbeke, Lokeren, Sint-Niklaas, Waasmunster, Temse and Kruibeke.

The “notification document on the project-MER to replace conductors from Mercator to Horta” is available for consultation from Elia (info@elia.be or +32 3 640 07 22), the EIR department of the Flemish government and the municipalities located in the project area:

  • Zomergem, Lovendegem, Waarschot, Evergem, Ghent, Lochristi, Moerbeke, Lokeren, Sint-Niklaas, Waasmunster, Temse and Kruibeke.
  • You can also consult the notification file on the website of the MER department of the Flemish government (in Dutch) using the file number (file number=2240).