PPL Corporation (through its subsidiary PPL TransLink LLC) and Elia Group (through its subsidiary WindGrid) have signed an agreement to develop and propose innovative transmission solutions to integrate future offshore wind capacity to the onshore grid in the New England region (US).
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop, build and operate transmission assets, so combining PPL’s extensive experience in building and operating large-scale onshore transmission assets in the U.S. with Elia Group’s proven track record in building, integrating and operating offshore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) networks.
“As the U.S. seeks to accelerate the development of offshore wind to advance a cleaner energy future, it’s essential that we prepare to integrate that wind as reliably and efficiently as possible to strengthen grid resilience and keep energy affordable. Both PPL and Elia Group are at the forefront of grid innovation. We intend to leverage our shared vision and deep expertise to propose solutions that advance decarbonisation goals, enhance energy security and drive value for consumers,” said Vincent Sorgi, President and CEO of PPL Corporation.
In mid-October, PLL and Elia Group plan to jointly respond to a Request for Information (RFI) issued by five New England states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire) that are seeking input from interested stakeholders relating to the transmission system changes and upgrades that are needed to integrate future renewable energy resources into their grids.
The 5 states recognise the importance of early planning for carrying out this offshore wind development. Recent studies, including Massachusetts’ Energy Pathways to Deep Decarbonization report, which is cited in the RFI, assume that up to 30,000 megawatts of New England offshore wind capacity will be deployed by 2050.
“Both PPL and Elia Group share the same open mind and vision regarding innovative offshore transmission solutions. By uniting our complementary skills and building on the experience Elia Group has built up in Europe, we want to undertake offshore development in the interest of society. PPL is a reliable and robust player in the U.S. energy sector. Our values and ambitions in terms of driving the energy transition are well matched,” said Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia Group.
For more than 25 years, Elia Group has been a front-runner in offshore electricity transmission. Through its subsidiaries in Belgium (Elia) and Germany (50Hertz), the company has connected 14 wind farms (3,500 MW by end of 2022) to its onshore grid. It is currently operating three HVDC subsea cable interconnectors. The company built the world’s first hybrid interconnector (an interconnector connected to three offshore wind farms) and has pioneered many innovative projects and approaches, including the first offshore AC grid in Germany and X-ray technology for offshore cable inspections.
New innovative projects are on their way. Elia Group is currently developing the world’s first energy islands to form the building blocks of an integrated European offshore grid. These offshore electricity hubs will link wind farms and HVDC interconnectors to multiple European countries. Elia’s projects are realised in close partnership with wind developers, other grid operators and international partners across the value chain. Elia Group’s transmission system has a reliability rate of 99.99%, and like PPL, the company continues to invest in advanced technology and digitalisation.
Through its subsidiaries, PPL Corporation has invested more than $9 billion in transmission in the U.S. over the past decade, part of more than $30 billion invested overall in utility infrastructure and technology. The company has significant experience engaging with various stakeholders to successfully site new transmission projects and working with regional transmission organisations to strengthen grid resilience. PPL is an industry leader in deploying smart grid technology and automation to drive customer value and operates one of the nation’s most reliable electricity networks.
Image source: Courtesy of Elia Group
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