Mercator - Horta


September 2018

Elia uses wooden structures during work on the lines

Elia is currently replacing the conductors on the section of the 380-kV high-voltage Mercator-Horta line between Ghent and Kruibeke. The conductors are being replaced by a new type of conductor that can transmit more energy. The old conductors must be removed before the new ones are installed. There is a risk here that the cables will sag too much so, to guarantee safety, wooden frames are being erected along roads (see photo) to ensure that the conductors always remain at a safe height. Wooden frames may be used in the same location on two separate occasions during the works, as there are conductors on both the left and the right of high-voltage pylons and they all need to be replaced. As such, the frames will be erected a second time once winter is over. They will be dismantled after the old conductors have been removed and replaced.

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The project 

The axis from Mercator to Horta is an overhead high-voltage line going from Kruibeke (high-voltage substation Mercator) to Zomergem (substation Horta) over a distance of 49km.

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.

 

Utility

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 

 

Map 

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.

Works 

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.

Take a closer look at the works here.

Contact

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