Mercator – Horta

Upgrading the existing 380 kV high-voltage line between the Mercator high-voltage substation in Kruibeke and the Horta high-voltage substation in Zomergem. 

Meeting the future needs of the electricity grid

The Mercator-Horta line is a 380 kV overhead high-voltage connection dating from the 1970s. Elia is upgrading the existing high-voltage line with a view to meeting the future needs of the electricity grid. Between 2018 and late 2021, Elia will replace the conductors of the existing high-voltage line, strengthen the pylons and their foundations, and modify the switchgear in the Mercator high-voltage substation in Kruibeke.

  • texteIn the interest of society

    The Mercator-Horta line’s conductors need to be replaced and upgraded for three reasons:

    • Higher import capacity for better security of supply 
      Upgrading the Mercator-Horta line will make it possible to import more electricity from abroad, enhancing security of supply and boosting economic development in Belgium and in Europe as a whole.
    • Integration of renewables
      The line’s increased capacity will make it possible to connect new generation units to the grid. The Mercator-Horta connection is vital for offshore wind farms, to name but one example.
    • Move towards a European energy market
      Elia’s investments should be viewed with the wider European context in mind. Europe is asking its Member States to invest in sufficient transmission capacity to and from other countries. This will improve international trade opportunities and make the energy price more competitive.

  • texteThe route

    The Mercator-Horta line runs from Kruibeke (Mercator high-voltage substation) to Zomergem (Horta high-voltage substation), covering a distance of 49 km. It is located entirely within the province of East Flanders and crosses 12 municipalities: Zomergem, Lovendegem, Waarschoot, Evergem, Ghent, Lochristi, Moerbeke, Lokeren, Sint-Niklaas, Waasmunster, Temse and Kruibeke.

  • environnementEnvironment

    Elia is taking a number of measures to minimise the work’s impact on local residents and the environment:

    • Elia will restore the land to its original state once work is complete.
    • Elia will use a quiet technology to strengthen the pylon foundations.
    • Where possible, Elia will set up work depots in existing industrial zones or paved areas to limit disruption for the environment and nature.
    • Elia guarantees that local residents will always be able to access their homes.
    • Work will not be carried out at night, so no depots or sites will be lit up then.
    • Farmers who suffer damage as a result of the work will be compensated accordingly, as per the protocol between Elia and the agricultural organisations.
    • Site traffic will use the shortest, safest and most accessible routes.
    • If normal traffic has to be diverted, the diversions will be agreed with the road authority (the municipality or the Flemish Region) and clearly communicated to local residents.

  • Schedule
    • 2016: Planning permit, road permit and Declaration of Public Utility requested as part of the Overarching Framework Decision.
    • 2017: Pylons strengthened over the entire route.
    • From April 2018: Replacement of conductors over the entire route. This will be done in two stages:
    • April – July 2018: Replacement of conductors between the Rodenhuize (Ghent) and Horta (Zomergem) high-voltage substations.
    • July – October 2018 and April – July 2019: Replacement of conductors between the Mercator (Kruibeke) and Rodenhuize (Ghent) high-voltage substations.
  • docDocuments


01 September 2019

New connection commissioned

The new 380-kV Mercato-Horta high-voltage line was commissioned on 14 August. This is good news, not just for our country's security of supply, but also for Belgian and European economic development!

01 August 2019

Upgraded 380-kV Mercator-Horta line commissioned

The Mercator-Horta high-voltage line was put back in operation on 14 August. This is good news, not just for our country's security of supply, but also for Belgian and European economic development!

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