ABB (Zurich, Switzerland) helped TenneT and Statnett, the Dutch and Norwegian transmission system operators, officially open a 580-km (360-mile) power link between the two countries. The project brings the goal of a common power network and a reliable, efficient electricity supply for Europe a step closer to reality. TenneT in the Netherlands and Statnett in Norway jointly own the transmission link for which ABB supplied the key technologies.
NorNed is the longest submarine cable link in the world and the most powerful, with a transmission capacity of 700 MW. It was inaugurated in the presence of executives from the two utilities that own the link and ABB, as well as the Norwegian minister of petroleum and energy, Terje Riis-Johansen, and the Dutch economics minister, Maria van der Hoeven. NorNed is the first direct power link between Norway and the Netherlands, and it is part of the European Union's plan to improve cross-border power infrastructure, reduce blackouts and help create more efficient power markets within Europe.
Norway and the Netherlands complement each other with regard to production and consumption of energy. Energy consumption in the Netherlands fluctuates to a higher extent than in Norway. In the Netherlands, consumption is high during the day and low during the night. This is thought to give export of electricity from Norway to the Netherlands during the day, and vice versa during the night. Patterns of power transmission are also thought to vary from season to season. Norway is based on electrical heating and consumes significantly more electricity during the winter than the summer time.
The ABB-built link, using high-voltage direct-current technology, allows utilities TenneT and Statnett to trade power and increase the reliability of electrical supply in each country. The Dutch grid can use Norwegian hydropower to manage peak power loads during the day and, by offering an alternative to fossil fuel-based generation, grid operators expect to reduce CO2 emissions by about 1.7 million tons per year.