Demolition of old power station cooling towers clears the way for new electricity interconnector with Europe

In March 2012 the last remaining cooling towers and chimney from the former Richborough Power station in Kent have been demolished to make way for a new energy park. National Grid Nemo Link Limited plans to use part of the site for an electricity interconnector with Belgium.

Richborough Blow Down.

The interconnector is a joint project between National Grid Nemo Link Limited, a subsidiary company of the UK’s National Grid Plc, and the Belgian Elia group. The project would be the first electricity link between the two countries. It is planned to run the 1000 megawatt High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) undersea cable between Zeebrugge and Richborough – a distance of approx 130 kilometres.

The link would allow power to flow in both directions and would be the third electricity interconnector connection between Kent and Europe. The BritNed interconnector between UK and the Netherlands went into operation in 2011 and the IFA interconnector to France began in1986.

Kevin Lee, business development manager at National Grid said

“There are real advantages in finding a suitable site in Kent to locate the landing site for the interconnector. It is the shortest distance between mainland UK and Belgium so minimising the length of the undersea cable. This not only helps with costs but also reduces the impact on the marine environment.”

“We are still at early stages of the project but look forward to working with the local authorities, communities and interest groups to ensure that this exciting development brings benefits to all concerned. Interconnectors are going to have an important role in making sure the country has security of supply and bringing about a competitive European electricity market.”

The project aims to be in commercial operation by 2018.