Grid expansion: ALEGrO and NordLink

To enable the energy transition, the current energy infrastructure needs to be expanded. Numerous investments are being made to enhance grid improvements throughout Europe, such as the introduction of new interconnectors. These interconnectors, along with infrastructural work and system integration, must be implemented in existing European capacity calculation regions (CCRs) and in pan-European allocation platforms such as SDAC and SIDC. In the last months of 2020, two new European interconnectors were taken into operation, connecting Belgium and Germany via ALEGrO and connecting Germany and Norway via NordLink.

ALEGrO added a capacity of 1000 megawatts, comparable to a medium-sized nuclear power plant, to the European grid. This first interconnector between Belgium and Germany allows for further integration of renewables in the grid, while ensuring that prices will decrease and security of supply can be guaranteed.

NordLink, the “Green Link”, is the first direct power connection between Germany and Norway. This HVDC link will enable the exchange of 1400 megawatts of renewable energy: wind power from Germany and hydropower from Norway. NordLink is thereby making a decisive contribution to the energy transition in Germany and Europe. This has a positive effect on energy prices and contributes to the integration of the European power markets.

Based on our experiences supporting transmission system operators (TSOs) and nominated electricity market operators (NEMOs) in the design and implementation of the European integrated electricity market, Magnus Energy supported the implementations of ALEGrO and NordLink.

Challenges and best practices

Grid expansion is the most visible contribution to the energy transition. It is also one of the best examples to highlight the complex system operation and market design. 

For both interconnectors, an effective approach to introduce these assets in the market needed to be developed. Existing technical concepts needed adaptation as the high voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnectors needed to be integrated in a dense alternating current (AC) grid. Innovative new methods were developed in a short period of time and in alignment with the single day ahead allocation cooperation (SDAC) governance. 

At the same time, care has been taken to ensure that the interconnectors were also integrated in all operational processes. All impacted systems were tested thoroughly to ensure continuation of capacity calculation in the Central Western European (CWE) region after go-live. This included testing with pan-European systems, the grid operators involved, as well as market operators and service centres that needed to adapt their systems for the new interconnectors.

Our role 

Magnus Energy has a proven track record of integration projects, and has developed several best practices for implementation projects. We used our knowledge and expertise to support the ALEGrO and NordLink projects: 

  • ALEGrO: project management support by structuring the project organisation, creating an overall project plan and supporting the implementation. Additionally, Magnus Energy – as an external party with a neutral role – facilitated the decision-making process. Moreover, Magnus Energy helped integrate the project into the existing international structures through close alignment and early identification of issues. The combination of efficient project management, our role as neutral evaluator, and insights into the overall electricity market effectively supported the ALEGrO project.
  • NordLink: test management and go-live support. Our deep knowledge of the different European markets and governances (SDAC, SIDC, CWE, Core) was highly beneficial to ensure timely integration. This experience allowed for close integration and alignment with other projects. Moreover, it ensured all tests were completed and all issues fixed before go-live. With a short timeline for implementation, it was vital to stay on track to maintain time for testing. 

Parties involved in ALEGrO and NordLink projects 

Industry Topics

Project management, test management


Project management, test management


Christiane Stut

Senior managing consultant +31 85 7430519