EIB supports key Dutch grid project to connect offshore wind farms

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The European Investment Bank has formally agreed to provide a EUR 450 million loan to TenneT Holding B.V. to finance construction and operation of an 83km 380kV transmission connection between the Hague and Rotterdam.

This will close the ‘Randstad 380’ extra-high voltage electricity transmission ring.

The project will connect offshore wind farms and the UK interconnector to the Dutch high voltage grid, improve security of supply and cater for predicted increased electricity demand around Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, the four largest Dutch cities and the surrounding Randstad region, one of the most populated parts of Europe. Completion of the high-voltage link will improve international electricity links between the Netherlands and France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany and is essential for the proper functioning of both the electricity network and supply system.

“Security of electricity supply and effective use of renewable energy from future North Sea wind farms will be improved significantly through completion of TenneT’s Randstad 380 transmission loop. This scheme is vital for ensuring future security of supply in the Randstad. The European Investment Bank’s support for the project reflects the benefits both for Dutch electricity consumers and electricity markets in north-western Europe” noted Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending operation in the Netherlands.

“The Randstad project provides significant advantages for producers and consumers alike. Thanks to this new innovative connection, both security of supply and energy trading possibilities will increase. The EIB’s support demonstrates the necessity of this investment and paves the way for a stronger European power supply market.” said Mel Kroon, Chief Executive Officer of TenneT.

The Randstad 380 kV electricity transmission scheme will include construction of three substations and a 83km link between Wateringen, 7km southwest of The Hague, and Beverwijk, 20km northwest of Amsterdam. 20km of the electricity link crossing scenic and environmentally sensitive areas will be underground to minimise environmental impact from the project, innovative Wintrack pylons will be used to reduce magnetic disruption by a third and specialist diverters put on overhead wires to minimise bird collisions. The financial agreement follows December’s favourable legal judgment by the Council of State of the Netherlands on the integration plan and spatial decisions for this project. The first part of this new link is expected to be ready for operation in early 2013.

Over the last five years the European Investment Bank, the European Union’s long-term lending institution, has lent over EUR 6.8 billion for projects in the Netherlands. This includes EUR 2 billion for energy schemes, notably support for renewable energy, electricity transmission, gas and biomass projects. In 2010 the European Investment Bank provided EUR 1.6 billion for projects in the country.

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