The Europacable Concept of Partial Undergrounding foresees the undergrounding of power lines in sensitive areas complementing overhead lines where their deployment is restricted by public concerns or environmental limitations.
The concept can be applied at any voltage level. This said, we believe that today the biggest potential to facilitate grid extensions lies with 380 kV or 400 kV extra high voltage (EHV) cross linked polyethylene (XLPE) alternating current (AC) cables. An increasing number of reference projects show that partial undergrounding of EHV transmission lines can help to address concerns of local communes affected by transmission lines. XLPE cables can thus facilitate breaking the deadlock of certain projects. By speeding up the construction times of transmission projects, XLPE cables serve as an enabler to integrate renewable energy sources into Europe’s future energy mix.
The Concept of Partial Undergrounding offers flexibility to the Transmission System Operator (TSO) in the planning and execution of new transmission projects:
- Alternative, possibly shorter routes;
- Individual adaptation of the line to meet the requirements of the surroundings;
- Reduction of cost multiples, as higher expenditure for undergrounding is limited to short sections;
- Pilot projects allow industry to further deepen its technology expertise, thus securing Europe’s leadership in this sector.
380 kV XLPE cables are a mature technology and fully available so that TSOs can integrate partial undergrounding in their toolbox from the very outset of the planning procedure seeking to realise new projects in the shortest possible timeframe.
Installation of TenneT 380 kV Randstad Ring, The Netherlands