Undergrounding to become standard option for Europe´s future grids

On Wednesday, 18 November, Marian Harkin MEP hosted the breakfast briefing “Undergrounding Power Grids” in the European Parliament. Participants included various Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission DG Energy as well as numerous stakeholders involved in the European grid debate.  

Set in the context of the European Parliament´s Own Initiative Report on the Interconnection Targets, Mrs. Harkin stressed that: “It´s clear, Europe needs more grids. At the same time, however, in our constituencies, we as MEPs witness more and more opposition to overhead lines. I have invited Europacable to update us on the latest developments in underground cable technology so that we understand how to build Europe´s future grids in an environmentally and socially acceptable manner.”

Mr. Raul Gil, Chairman of the Europacable Utilities Board, welcomed the opportunity to share the latest developments: “Underground and submarine cable technology is fully available to complement overhead lines in sensitive areas and hence facilitate the public acceptance of power transmission lines in Europe.”

Marian Harkin, MEP, Tomasz Jerzyniak DG Energy and Raul Gil, Europacable

“With new underground projects being rolled out across Europe proof is given that undergrounding should finally become a standard option in the TSO´s toolbox”, Mr. Gil stressed.

 A new legislative proposal aiming for more undergrounding in Germany shows that costs to the end consumer are marginal: A recent study conducted by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs concludes that the average consumer will face an increase of 3,40 to 9,10 euros per year on his electricity bill due to undergrounding. The cost to society of not having these lines due to further delays would be significantly higher, Mr. Gil pointed out.

Mr. Gil concluded: With over 70.000 people generating a turnover over € 20 billion in 2014, the wire and cable industry will not be the bottleneck to build Europe´s 2050 power transmission grids – neither technological nor capacity-wise. We are ready to deliver. All we call for is a stable regulatory framework which allows us to properly forecast our investments.”