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Danish Parliament establishes new principles for transmission grid expansion

Published 15.2.2017 08.55
The guidelines for the expansion of the transmission grid, adopted by the Danish Parliament (the Folketing) in 2008, have been adapted.
In future, new 400 kV connections will be established as overhead lines, while new connections at 150/132 kV level will continue to be laid as underground cables.

The Danish government has concluded an agreement with the Social Democrats, the Danish People’s Party, the Radical Liberals, the Socialist People’s Party, Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People’s Party on the elimination of the Public Service Obligations (PSO) tariff.

The agreement also covers a number of other energy sector items, including adjustment of the guidelines for the future transmission grid expansion at transmission level.
 
The agreement entails that new 400 kV connections will be established as overhead lines. This is an amendment of the ‘Guidelines for undergrounding and expansion of the transmission grid’ adopted by the Folketing in 2008.

These guidelines proposed that new 400 kV connections would be laid as underground cables if technically possible.
A proposal to adapt the guidelines has been underway since 2015.
 
Adaptation of growth plan
The Social Democratic/Radical Liberal government at the time presented a number of growth initiatives in May 2015, in which the government proposed to adapt the plans of undergrounding the transmission grid, among other things to reduce costs.
The growth plan read:
“The total investments in the cable action and beautification plans amount to DKK 14.5bn (2008 prices), which will be paid by the electricity consumers.  However, a part hereof has already been commissioned, which is why non-commissioned investments of approx. DKK 7bn remain unsettled, cor-responding to an average tariff effect increasing to the size of DKK 275m per year in the period 2026-2030. On these grounds, the Danish government wants to identify scenarios for a focused cable action and beautification plan for the existing grid in preparation for identifying which investments would be suitable to cancel.”

The new political agreement of Thursday 17 November 2016 on ‘adaptation of the guidelines for cable laying’ establishes, among other things:
• that, as a point of departure, the existing 150/132 kV overhead lines are maintained
• that new 150/132 kV connections must still be laid as underground cables
• that three deferred 400 kV beautification projects will be resumed (‘Kongernes Nordsjælland’ national park, Årslev water meadow and Roskilde Fjord)
• that new 400 kV connections will be established as overhead lines, possibly with shorter sections being laid as cables in scenic areas, near cities, etc.
 
Application submitted to the minister
On 15 March 2016, Energinet.dk announced plans to create a new 400 kV connection between Endrup near Esbjerg to the Danish-German border, as well as to upgrade the existing connection between Endrup and Idomlund near Holstebro from 150 kV to 400 kV.
The plans were approved by Energinet.dk’s Supervisory Board under the prerequisite that the Folketing would adopt an adaptation of the guidelines for the expansion of the transmission grid.

With the new guidelines, the prerequisites are in place, and Energinet.dk can continue to plan the projects. However, Energinet.dk is still awaiting a response to the application for permission to invest in overhead lines, which Energinet.dk has submitted to the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate.
 
Viking Link to be established as underground DC cable
The application to build 400 kV AC overhead lines from the Danish-German border to Endrup and again from Endrup to Idomlund also contains an application to establish, together with the British National Grid, an electrical cable called Viking Link across the North Sea, thus connecting the UK and Denmark.

However, as this is a DC connection, no masts will need to be erected in connection with Viking Link. Viking Link can be laid as a DC cable underground and on the seabed.

Read more here
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This news article was initially published in Danish on November 25, 2016 and has subsequently been translated into English. Publication date of the English version is February 15, 2017.