Inclusion of the project in the National Development Plan and in the TYNDP
Most European countries release on a regular basis a National Development Plan (NDP), describing the planned investments in the national transmission network, including building of new infrastructure and replacement of existing infrastructure.
Looking at the mid- to long-term, NDPs are developed by TSOs in close collaboration with their national regulatory authority and are sometimes submitted to a public consultation process before their final publication. They are legally binding, meaning that the TSO commits to implement the network developments planned in the NDP, and must report and explain any deviation to the national regulator. NDPs usually contain an assessment of network needs in the mid- to long-term and consider different scenarios of the future.
Unlike NDPs, the TYNDP is not a binding development plan, though its publication is a legal requirement according to Regulation (EU) 2019/943. Its primary purpose is to ensure transparency of the EU electricity transmission network. Consistency between NDPs and the TYNDP is essential: EU Regulation 2019/943 states that the TYNDP must build on NDPs, while many national regulators require NDPs to be compatible with the most recent edition of the TYNDP. Cooperation of European TSOs through the TYNDP allows for harmonised methodologies to develop.
Nemo Link: An example of successful TSO cooperation
The Nemo Link interconnector electrically connects Belgium and the United Kingdom offering both countries access to a broader energy mix and providing opportunities to expand into other electricity markets. This new connection will also provide significant social benefits. By connecting the UK and Belgian electricity markets customers have access to different sources of generation and lower priced electricity. Nemo Link is expected to see 1,000 MW in electricity exchanges (equivalent to the capacity of a small nuclear reactor), a significant plus in terms of ensuring security of supply.
Nemo Link was included in Elia’s Federal Development Plan 2010 – 2020 and 2015 – 2025 editions, and the need for a UK – BE interconnection has been assessed in the UK’s Electricity Ten Year Statement. In parallel, the project has been assessed in all TYNDPs since the very first one in 2010, until 2018.
Transmission operators Elia and National Grid created a joint venture with a mixed Belgian-British team. The team did not only had to overcome technical challenges during the installation of the subsea HVDC-cable between Belgium and UK, but also had to align the access rules and principles on which charges for the use of Nemo Link are based with two National Regulatory Authorities.
Through Nemo Link, customers have the opportunity to buy up to 1,000 MW capacity in either direction via explicit and/or implicit auctions. Transparent access rules and principles were established, but ongoing negotiations on Brexit between GB and the European Commission and uncertainties on energy policy issues made the alignment of the access rules and principles more complicated.
Ofgem and CREG (British and Belgian National Regulatory Authorities) approved the Nemo Link Non-IEM access rules. These rules will come into force in case no agreement is found on the future UK-EU relationship, meaning that GB will have to leave the Internal Energy Market (IEM) and that the implicit day ahead market coupling will be replaced by explicit day ahead auctions, run by the Joint Allocation Office.
The go-live of the Nemo Link interconnector commercial operations on 31 January 2019 marked the culmination of an enormous project that took nearly 10 years to complete.