Elia is Belgium's high-voltage transmission system operator (30 kV to 380 kV). Learn about our infrastructure here.
A cornerstone for our economic development and well-being
Elia's high-voltage grid is a cornerstone of the Belgian energy system. Having high-performance electricity infrastructure bolsters Belgium's economic development and fosters the well-being of the community. This is precisely why Elia is committed to developing and building a robust 30 kV to 380 kV electricity transmission system, with facilities both on land and offshore, that forms an integral part of the European interconnected transmission system and contributes to bringing about the energy transition.
Characteristics of our grid
In step with European climate policyToday, the development of Belgium's electricity grid is guided by European climate policy, which aims to almost completely decarbonise the electricity sector by 2050 through the large-scale integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar power and wind power (from both onshore and offshore wind farms). Our grid is becoming ever more interconnected – and ever more closely integrated – with the European transmission system.
Playing a leading role in the energy transitionOur transmission system plays a leading role in bringing about the energy transition: Elia is developing and building its 30 kV to 380 kV electricity transmission system, both on land and offshore, to keep people and businesses supplied with sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.
Developed proactively, in the interest of the communityWhen developing our grid, we need to anticipate changes in the energy landscape and act accordingly. It takes far longer to build grid infrastructure (average project lead time: 10 years) than it does to implement a renewable energy generation project (approx. 3-5 years), so we need to plan ahead – we cannot simply respond to changes as they happen. If our society is to successfully implement the energy transition and draw maximum benefit from it, we need to build our grid proactively, in the interest of the community. By doing so, we hope to create the greatest possible value for every euro paid by the community.
Seeking socially responsible, economically efficient solutionsWhen developing and building our grid, we always strive to find socially responsible, economically efficient solutions. To this end, we try to limit the construction of new infrastructure, preferring to optimise and upgrade the existing infrastructure wherever possible. Elia also communicates and cooperates transparently throughout the entire development process, starting at the very earliest stage in a project's life. And we are committed to respecting people and the environment as we build and operate our infrastructure.
Alternating current or direct current?
AC connections make up 98% of the European electricity grid. With alternating current, electricity can be easily switched and transformed to other voltages.
Direct current connections in the European electricity grid are quite rare since they cannot transmit as much energy as alternating current connections and they are complicated to operate.
Electricity connections: underground cables or overhead lines?
When expanding the grid, Elia always uses existing infrastructure as much as possible. Where an overhead line already exists, Elia opts to develop it further. Elia then installs additional or new conductors in order to transmit more electricity. When Elia installs new electricity connections, there are two options: underground cables or overhead lines.
The choice depends on multiple factors. Voltage plays a major role. Elia is more likely to install new low-voltage connections underground, whereas high-voltage connections (380kV) will take the form of overhead lines. The local surroundings, relevant legislation and technical considerations also play a role. A separate analysis is conducted for each and every new connection.
Read more about the installation of underground cables and overhead lines here
Map of the electricity transmission system
Elia's electricity transmission system covers voltage levels ranging from 380 kV to 30 kV, with infrastructure both on land and offshore.