Schelle - Umicore


January 2019

20 local residents attend Schelle-Umicore project information session

On Thursday 10 January 2019, as part of the permit application procedure Elia held an information session on the new dual 150-kV cable connection between Schelle and the Umicore site in Hoboken. This information session was organised in consultation with Umicore and is the first to focus specifically on a customer project. Around 20 local residents attended the event to learn more and the project team was on hand to provide information about the need, schedule and impact of the work.

December 2018

Elia organises information session on 10 January 2019

During the second half of 2019, Elia will start installing two 150kV underground cables between the high-voltage substation in Schelle and the Umicore plant in Hoboken.

To inform local residents and businesses about the project, Elia will organise an information session. During this event Elia will present the purpose and schedule of the project and provide more details on how the work will be carried out. You also have an opportunity to put questions to the project managers.

Interested parties can attend the information session at the following address any time between 18:00 and 20:30 on 10 January 2019:

  • Hemiksem Town Hall
    Sint-Bernardusabdij 1
    B-2620 Hemiksem

At the end of 2019 new cable works between Schelle and Umicore

Early in 2018, Umicore launched an investment programme worth €100 million to expand the capacity of its site's refining and recycling activities by 40%. To enable this increase in capacity, the high-voltage network needs to be expanded to make more electricity available at the site. Consequently, Umicore asked Elia to build a new high-voltage connection to its Hoboken plant.

Complying with this request, during the second half of 2019 Elia will start installing two 150 kV cables between the high-voltage station in Schelle and Umicore's plant in Hoboken. The work will be carried out within the municipalities of Schelle and Hemiksem and in the district of Hoboken. The map below indicates the route that the new connection will follow.


Laying a 150-kV underground cable

The new underground connection comprises six cables in total. Two separate circuits, each consisting of three cables, will be laid in the same trench. This process encompasses the following six phases:


Consultation with municipalities

Elia consults the municipalities involved and makes arrangements with local authorities and services.


The field survey analyses the location of existing utility lines, potential obstacles along the route, and other archaeological factors. This detailes study determines the exact location of the underground cables. A topographical survey is performed. Elia arranges the signage needed and potential diversion routes.

Digging of trenches

Elia begins digging the trenches in which cables will subsequently be laid. The trenches are approximately 1 metre wide and 1.05 metres deep. It takes two months to compete each cable section (around one kilometre). 


Directional drilling

Elia carries out directional drilling at intersections, waterways and railways. Elia also digs trenches, each of which is two metres wide and equipped with drainage pumps to keep it dry. Elia’s trenches are always around one kilometre long.


Cable pulling through the trenches

A cable reel is used to lay the cables in the trench over a distance of around one kilometre. The cables are laid in a special type of sand in order to control the temperature and are covered with protective plates.


Restoration of the site

Elia restores the site to its original state once work is complete.

Features of laying the 2x150-kV underground connection

The new 2x150-kV cable between Schelle and Umicore comprises two circuits, each of which consists of three cables. Each cable section is approximately one kilometre long and takes six to seven weeks to install. Laying the 2x150-kV cable is estimated to take one year.

  • Type A trench
    A type A trench is the most common type of trench used when laying high-voltage cables. It is an open trench in which the cables are laid next to one another.


  • Directional drilling
    Directional drilling is a trenchless drilling technique predominantly used to cut across busy intersections, waterways and nature reserves. Elia uses this technique to lay the cable connection underneath obstacles without disturbing the surrounding area.   


When carrying out its projects, Elia always takes account of trees, plants and green areas.

  • When mapping the route, areas with trees and green areas will be avoided as much as possible.
  • Topographical surveys ensure that, once the work has been completed, any damaged green areas are restored to their original state.
  • If Elia needs to cut down a number of trees, the same type of tree will be planted again afterwards.
  • If the same number of trees cannot be replanted, Elia will make up for the loss at another location.




If you have any questions about this project, please send an e-mail to or call us on 0800 11 089 (during office hours).