Nemo Link HVDC Interconnector Converter Stations

Nemo Link® was a consortium between the UK and Belgium power grid transmissions operators, National Grid in the UK and Elia in Belgium.


Client: Siemens AG

Date: 2015 - 2017

Location: Richborough

Value: Civils: £25m Project: £160m


Nemo Link® proposed to construct an electrical interconnector between the UK and Belgium known as the Nemo Link® interconnector.

The Nemo Link® interconnector consisted of subsea and underground cables connected to a converter station and an electricity substation in each country, which will allow electricity to flow in either direction between the two countries. Nemo Link® are building the converter station and electricity substation on an 8 hectare site, formerly occupied by the Richborough Power Station, which now forms part of the Richborough Energy Park proposals. A similar converter station and Sub-station was proposed in the industry zone at Herdersbrug, Bruges, Belgium.

Nemo will connect the electricity systems of the two countries and enable the bi-directional flow of electricity derived from renewable sources, diversifying the electric supply system of the countries. It will provide 1,000 MW (1GW) of power capacity, which will be sufficient to serve 500,000 homes. The link will increase energy security for both countries and support integration of renewable energy. It has been designated as one of the European Commission’s Projects of Common Interest as it will help create an integrated European energy market.

Interconnectors play a crucial role in the European Union’s strategy to achieve a competitive and integrated European energy market. By allowing the UK and Belgium to trade power, the Nemo Link interconnector will increase security and diversify both countries’ electricity supply. To meet international and domestic renewable and climate change targets, the UK and Belgium will generate more power from renewable sources, including offshore wind. By its nature, wind power generation is intermittent and interconnectors provide an effective way to manage these fluctuations in supply and demand.


Siemens were been awarded the turnkey construction of
the overall project and have appointed Sweco (Belgium and
UK) to provide the multi-disciplinary design services for the
Converter Stations in both Belgium and UK. The services
included Planning advice and discharge of planning
conditions, Geotechnical, Civil, Structural, Architectural,
Mechanical and Electrical design and preparation of tender
documentation for the construction of the buildings and
associated external equipment.

The site of the proposed converter station and substation
at Richborough was derelict and the debris from the
demolition of the chimney stack and cooling towers which
previously occupied part of the site has been remediated
for use within the project.

Siemens saw significant benefits using Sweco as we
had major offices in both the UK & Belgium that could offer
the full multi-disciplinary services required and worked in
close collaboration to deliver the projects on each side of
the channel as efficiently as possible. Significant savings
were seen in using Sweco in this way.

Due to the complexity of both the above ground and
below ground cabling, ducting and drainage as well as the
requirement to fit significant quantity of highly technical
equipment within the buildings, it was imperative that
clashes of equipment would not occur. It was therefore a
client requirement that a 3D model with BIM capability be
produced for each site. It was decided that Revit would be
the model of choice as it was universally used across all the
construction partners and clients.

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