Mercator - Horta


March 2018

Elia start with the next phase of Mercator-Horta 

The next phase of the work will begin in April: replacing the conductors. Conductors are the cables on the high-voltage pylons that transmit electricity. The old conductors will be replaced by a new type of conductor that can transmit more energy. This is needed in order to improve the grid.

From April to July 2018 the conductors between the Rodenhuize substation in Ghent and the Horta substation in Zomergem will be replaced.

Starting in July 2018 the conductors between the Mercator substation in Kruibeke and the Rodenhuize substation in Ghent will be replaced. Under the current schedule, all conductors will be replaced by the end of 2019.

November 2017

The upgrade of pylons and foundations along the route of the Mercator-Horta line is progressing well and on schedule.

The next phase of the work will begin in April 2018: the replacement of conductors throughout the route. Conductors are the cables on the high-voltage pylons that transmit electricity. Elia will remove the old conductors and replace them with a new model that can transmit more energy.

  • The conductors will be replaced in two stages:
    Stage 1: April – July 2018: work between the Rodenhuize (Ghent) and Horta (Zomergem) high-voltage substations.
  • Stage 2: July – October 2018 and April – July 2019: work between the Mercator (Kruibeke) and Rodenhuize (Ghent) substations.
    This differs from the information provided at the start of the project. The schedule had to be changed to guarantee the reliability of the electricity grid. Under the current schedule, all conductors will be replaced by late 2019.

May 2017

Pylons to be shored up along the Mercator-Horta route from late May onwards

Elia is currently working on the Kruibeke high-voltage substation (Mercator). We will begin working on the Mercator-Horta high-voltage line in late May. This line runs from Kruibeke to Zomergem. We will begin by shoring up the pylons and foundations throughout the route. All pylon bases will be supported by additional underground concrete plates.

From 2018 onwards, the conductors on this line will be replaced, starting with the stretch between the Mercator (Kruibeke) and Rodenhuize (Ghent) high-voltage substations before moving on to the line between Rodenhuize and the Horta (Zomergem) high-voltage substation.

Elia completes permit process for the Mercator-Horta PCI

Elia obtained the planning permit, declaration of public utility and road permit for the Mercator-Horta project in May 2017, meaning that the company had all necessary permits and could start work on this key high-voltage line.

Mercator-Horta is on the European Commission's list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). All projects on this list contribute to the creation of an integrated European energy market. Through the Mercator-Horta project, Elia is upgrading the high-voltage line between Kruibeke and Zomergem to guarantee the security of supply and enable the exchange of energy with our neighbours France and the Netherlands.

Thanks to the PCI status, Elia was able to submit to the Permit Coordination and Facilitation Committee (VCFC/CCFA) one-stop shop, which coordinates permit procedures for PCIs, a joint application for the planning permit, declaration of public utility, and the road permit. As such, the Mercator-Horta project has benefitted from more efficient permit procedures and improved regulation for projects with PCI status.

December 2016

Elia submits permit application for the Mercator-Horta PCI

On 18 November, Elia submitted a permit application for the Mercator-Horta project to the Permit Coordination and Facilitation Committee (VCFC/CCFA) one-stop shop, which coordinates permit procedures for projects of common interest (PCIs). This ensured that the application processes for the planning permit, the declaration of public utility and the highway permit all started at the same time. The applications are now undergoing the usual procedure with each of the competent bodies.

Elia's Mercator-Horta project involves renovating the high-voltage line between Mercator high-voltage substation in Kruibeke and Horta substation in Zomergem. More specifically, the AMS conductors on the line are being replaced with high-performance HTLS conductors, the pylons and foundations are being reinforced, and Elia is making adjustments to the switchgear at Mercator high-voltage substation.

A public consultation is currently underway as part of the three permit procedures. The plans and documents relating to the applications will be available for viewing in the affected towns and municipalities (Zomergem, Lovendegem, Waarschoot, Evergem, Ghent, Lochristi, Moerbeke, Lokeren, Sint-Niklaas, Waasmunster, Temse and Kruibeke) throughout the entire consultation period. Digital copies can be found under the Documents tab. Any complaints or comments about the applications must be submitted in writing to the mayor and aldermen of one of the affected towns and municipalities.

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

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

Contact us:

  • via e-mail: omwonenden@elia.be
  • via telephone: 0800 11 089 (during office hours)