Omexom Belgium refurbishes Noordschote substation
Located in a rural village of only 600 inhabitants, the Noordschote high-voltage substation is an important node in its area as it supplies the entire Westhoek region with electricity. To prepare for higher electricity demands in the future, Omexom in Belgium is modernizing the installation, making it more sustainable.
A substation modernization to meet the energy needs of the future
The Noordschote substation is located about 120 km west of Brussels. Due to the increase in electric vehicles, the explosive growth in the use of heat pumps and the electrification of small and medium-sized businesses, it will need to accommodate increased electric transmission capacity within the next few years.
The local transmission system operator for more than 20 years, Elia , oversees the operation and maintenance of the high-voltage network in Belgium. With the energy transition in mind, Elia invested €449.5 million in the Belgian grid in 2022. This is where Omexom comes in, playing a key role in renovating the 40-year-old Noordschote substation. The project indeed consists in transforming the infrastructure into a more sustainable one for the future.
A new control room with remote data transmission
The refurbishment of the substation includes different types of work operated by our Omexom teams. The existing obsolete high-voltage overhead line (70 kV) needs to be completely dismantled. Omexom will replace the line and build a new control room. The latter will allow to remotely transmit data about frequency, voltage and power to Elia. It will ensure a safe management of the substation at all times.
Omexom is also responsible for the installation of two new 70/15 kV transformer banks to allow more power to be converted to 15 kV. Our teams will install medium-voltage cables between the transformers and the medium-voltage cabin. The distribution system operator, Fluvius, will then deliver the electricity to homes and businesses in the area.
Challenging site conditions
The project began in 2022 with the demolition of a line drop and the removal of two existing lots. At the moment, the control room is already equipped with lighting. Our teams have also received and connected the various electrical panels.
Working at the Noordschote substation also has an unusual challenge: the discovery of old bombs. The region was in fact a battlefield of World War I. Earthworks thus require extra precision and caution from our teams, because bombs are now still being discovered.
Giving the substation a more sustainable approach
Given their importance in the local sector, Elia is committed to being a catalyst for the energy transition. After the works, they will install a green screen between the new fence and the road, lay out grass zones and plant a separate hedge. They will also sow the gravel beds in the high-voltage substation with ground-covering vegetation.
In addition, during the works, one of the operator’s commitments is to cause as little disruption as possible to local inhabitants. The works will therefore only take place during the day, between 7 am and 7 pm. Homes and businesses in the immediate surroundings will remain accessible at all times.
Omexom in Belgium is particularly proud to take the lead in the energy transition by once again building a future proof high-voltage substation for Elia. The project is expected to be completed in August 2024.