Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (on screen) participate in the official opening of…
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (on screen) participate in the official opening of NordLink, the first power connection between Norway and Germany, in Oslo, Norway, May 27, 2021.

Germany and Norway on Thursday officially launched an undersea power cable between the two countries in a project that aids Europe’s effort to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, along with other government and industry officials, took part in a virtual ceremony to symbolically throw the switch on the more than $2.2 billion project. The 623-kilometer cable has been operational for at least a month but was formally opened Thursday.

Workers on Nexans Skagerrak vessel lay a NordLink subsea interconnector power cable to connect Norway and Germany at the Vollesfjord fjord near Flekkefjord, Norway May 31, 2018.

The cable, known as NordLink, allows an exchange of green energy between the two countries, allowing solar- and wind-generated electricity from Germany to flow to Norway, which will send back power generated largely from hydroelectric plants at water reservoirs. It will also fill gaps that occur because of fluctuations in wind and solar supplies.

During the virtual ceremony, Merkel called it a good day for German-Norwegian cooperation. “Germany and Norway are moving closer together, and NordLink is a fantastic success for the energy cooperation of our two countries." She said the project also represents a milestone in international energy cooperation.

Interconnectivity between different countries is one of the central pillars of the European Union's climate strategy. Similar cross-border projects are running between Norway and the Netherlands, the Netherlands and Britain, and Denmark and the Netherlands.

NordLink will help Germany reach its carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals. The German government recently announced that it aims to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2045. Germany is closing its last nuclear plants next year and phasing out the use of coal by 2038.