Amprion presents A-Nord routings

26.07.2017

From 2025 onwards, the DC connection A-Nord is destined to transport wind energy from the northwest of Germany to the consumption centres in the west and south of the country. The project is to be realised for the most part by means of underground cables. With a total length of 300 kilometres, A-Nord will have the capacity to transfer 2GW of electrical power. This corresponds to the needs of about two million people. A-Nord is carried out by TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Together with Ultranet, a joint project with further TSC member TransnetBW, A-Nord forms the so-called Korridor A, a key route of the German energy transition.

Last winter, Amprion performed a detailed environmental analysis involving meetings with public authorities, regional planning authorities or agricultural, forestry, and nature conservation associations. Taking all the results into account, the TSO now has publicly presented the suggestions for possible line routings and enters into the phase of intensive dialogue with the affected public.

“Our goal is to get a lot of valuable information that will allow us to further refine and optimise our planning,” explains Klaus Wewering, Amprion’s project manager. The TSO will incorporate all of the newly acquired data into possible alternative route corridors and intends to apply in March 2018 for Federal Sectoral Planning at the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), the competent German authority in terms of grid management and grid extension.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> Visit A-Nord website

Picture based on mapping and photo by Amprion / Frank Peterschröder

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Gas-insulated switchgear for Ultranet substation

26.07.2017

The substation on the site of the nuclear power plant Philippsburg in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg is of strategic importance for Germany’s future energy landscape. Here, the supra-regional DC line Ultranet will be connected to the 380kV grid of TSC member TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Ultranet, carried out jointly by TransnetBW and further TSC member Amprion, is set to transport renewable (primarily wind) energy from the northwest of Germany to the industrially highly developed southwest. Together with the A-Nord line it forms the so-called Korridor A, a flagship project of the German energy transition.

TransnetBW is preparing the exchange of the substation’s existing open-air switchgear with a newly constructed gas-insulated switchgear (GIS). The GIS complements a new converter station, which is also being built on the plant site. The DC from Ultranet will be converted into AC before the GIS feeds it into the transmission system. TransnetBW decided on a GIS system for the renewal of the Philippsburg substation since it requires only a fifth of the area of the open-air switchgear.

To launch the GIS project, TransnetBW has submitted the approval documents for the construction to the city of Philippsburg. In accordance with administrative proceedings, the documents will be handed over by the city government to Baden-Württemberg’s responsible Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector. Based on current planning, the GIS is to be completed and put into operation by the end of 2020. In the months to follow, all transmission lines will be connected to the new system. As soon as this has happened, the open-air switchgear can be dismantled.

> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

Picture: TransnetBW

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Best of both worlds – two new operators

25.07.2017

Every company or institution has its specific culture, processes or methodologies, and TSCNET Services is no exception to the rule. In this regard, the staffing of highly specialised positions with internal applicants has many advantages. On the downside, an external specialist’s view might open up new perspectives on our own business. That is why TSCNET Services decided to benefit from the best of both worlds. Early this year, we opened Operator positions to external applicants for the first time.

Now TSCNET is pleased to welcome two new Operators, who are completing our team in Munich since the beginning of July: Daniel Kuric, coming from the Croatian member TSO HOPS, and external Operator Miguel Santos from Portugal. With Miguel (on the right of the picture), the broadening of our search for dedicated professionals has already paid off. Daniel and Miguel fit perfectly into the multinational spirit of TSCNET and their fresh, outside perspective is definitely an added value to our team!

Both of our new colleagues decided to apply for a position in our Team Operations due to the excellent career opportunities TSCNET is offering as an international company with clear perspectives. When arriving in our office in Munich, Daniel and Miguel immediately experienced the special work atmosphere at TSCNET Services and the “international team work vision”, as Miguel puts it. Also Daniel appreciates the “stimulating multicultural environment”.

Apart from taking up the same position and responsibilities within TSCNET, Daniel and Miguel both share a great interest in the broader perspectives of the power engineering coordination process. And for both of them, joining our team means to test and expand their respective professional experience and knowledge on an international level. “My main motivation was to learn about and to understand the complex system behind the simple fact of having electricity in our homes”, says Miguel. The joint learning is already progressing at full speed: “The synergy of both business and team processes is a perfect proof of how efficient processing can be, when everybody strives for the same goal,” describes Daniel. May their new role at TSCNET provide all the answers and experiences they are looking for!

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Prolific exchange of cabling practices

24.07.2017

From 5 to 6 July, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) held an international workshop on “The prospects of undergrounding power lines” in Raesfeld, in the northwestern part of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The event was co-hosted by TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Amprion conducts a pilot project on underground cabling in Raesfeld. Therefore the participants had the valuable opportunity to visit not only Amprion’s exhibition about underground cables during the course of the workshop, but also the construction site of the on-going project, where they inspected the laid cable and the cable transfer station.

The technology used in Raesfeld, the exemplary and early involvement of the affected public, and Amprion’s consideration of environmentally friendly aspects were introduced during the workshop. International experts additionally presented several other European underground cable projects, among those the Project Randstad North-ring by further TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. The participants exchanged their technical knowledge and also how to translate it into understandable messages for policy makers and regulators. Antonella Battaglini, RGI’s Managing Director, expressed her opinion on the importance of professional exchange in order to “provide guidance for the handling of underground cables throughout the entire planning process.”

All in all, it became clear that AC cabling is still a new technology and TSOs have to gain experience in construction, technology, and operation through pilot projects. Gerald Kaendler, Head of Asset Management at Amprion, commented: “The exchange with the experts from across Europe has shown that the implementation of pilot cable projects is a good way to achieve the best use of cables in terms of acceptance and environmental impact.”

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> Visit RGI workshop website with access to presentations

Picture: Amprion / Daniel Schumann

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Top marks for Danish supply security

18.07.2017

Every summer, TSC member Energinet, the national Danish transmission system operator (TSO), gives a detailed insight into the status of last year’s supply security in Denmark by presenting the annual “Security of Electricity Supply Report”. With an availability rate of electricity of 99.996% of the time, Energinet has maintained the excellent value of the preceding year and continues to rank among the top European countries also in 2016. In addition to this, the number of incidents, near-miss incidents, or failures in the Danish transmission system was consistently low, in spite of the changes within system, primarily due to the energy transition and the ever increasing feed-in of renewables.

Anders Pallesen Jensen, head of Security of Supply at the Danish TSO, comments the good marks: “Energinet is proud of this achievement, but we’re also aware of the future challenges which must be addressed.” This means, that Energinet thoroughly monitors the ongoing evolution, runs analyses, and launches new initiatives – especially in terms of cross-border cooperation including both, infrastuctural and market-based measures. Energinet’s head of Electricity System Operation, Søren Dupont Kristensen, strongly believes that in order to preserve the high level of supply security in the long-term, “the TSOs need to increase their focus on coordinating electricity markets, electricity grids and international connections across borders”.

> See Energinet press release (html)
> Download Security of Electricity Supply Report 2017 (pdf, 6.5mb)

Illustration using the picture “Copenhagen from the top” by CAECA COPENHAGEN (Copenhagen Media Center)

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Helicopter monitoring of overhead lines

18.07.2017

From mid-July to mid-August, TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), inspects its extra-high voltage overhead lines with the use of helicopters. The air monitoring of about 4,500 pylons and 1,250 kilometres of transmission lines complements the controls from the ground which are carried out on a regular basis.

The helicopter control is an Amprion standard procedure for 30 years, since many damages are to be recognised more easily from the air. Experienced Amprion staff members look out for damaged conductors, insulators, or mast linkages. They also check trees growing too near, tire stacks near the masts, or plastic sheets in the wires.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

Picture: Montage based on a photo by Amprion / Daniel Schumann

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Prototype platforms for FutureFlow

17.07.2017

The FutureFlow project explores innovative solutions for cross-border balancing and redispatching in the control areas of four central-south European transmission system operators (TSOs). It collates the expertise of twelve partners from eight countries, including three TSC members: The Austrian TSO APG, the Slovenian TSO ELES (the project coordinator) and MAVIR from Hungary. FutureFlow is progressing rapidly, and now the project partners have created the infrastructural research basis for further development.

A significant potential for flexibility services is hidden in the wide range of devices and processes in the industry, tertiary and household sectors. The FutureFlow partners are aiming at integrating this unused potential into their balancing concept by aggregating distributed generation (DG) and demand response (DR). To implement this ambitious goal, two prototype platforms have been designed. The first platform probes the aggregation of DG and DR involving renewable generation forecasting techniques. The second one is the prototype of the regional balancing and redispatching platform. Its main component is the Common Activation Function, which is destined for cross-border congestion management.

By no means, the participating TSOs would tolerate any risk to the stability of the national transmission systems or interferences with the live operational Load Frequency Control. Nevertheless, the FutureFlow partners want to carry out realistic tests in real time. That is why an innovative pilot test environment has been designed that allows lifelike interacting of adjacent TSO environments with the regional balancing platform.

> See ELES press release (html)
> Visit FutureFlow website

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MARI workshop in Brussels

13.07.2017

The European cross-border balancing project MARI (Manually Activated Reserves Initiative) was established in this year’s April. The project’s aim is to implement a European platform for balancing energy from Frequency Restoration Reserves with manual activation (mFRR) in accordance with the EU Commission Guideline on Electricity Balancing. Eight TSC members are among the total of 19 transmission system operators (TSOs) being associated in MARI: APG (Austria), ČEPS (Czechia), Energinet.dk (Denmark), Swissgrid (Switzerland), the Dutch-German TSO TenneT, and the three further TSOs from Germany, 50Hertz, Amprion, and TransnetBW.

Already at a very early stage of the project, all MARI partners consider stakeholder communication and feedback to be highly important in order to develop a liquid and user-friendly platform. Therefore the MARI parties invite interested stakeholders to a project workshop on 4 September 2017 in the premises of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in Brussels, Belgium. Since the number of participants is limited, the event will also be broadcasted via webcast for registered users.

> See TenneT press release (html, with registration details)

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Arkona shell construction completed

13.07.2017

Nordwind 1, the grid connection for the wind farm cluster “Westlich Adlergrund” in the Baltic Sea near the German Island of Rügen, is the largest investment project to date by TSC member 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). In case of the Arkona wind farm in the south-east part of the cluster, 50Hertz is not only responsible for the feeding in of the wind energy into the onshore transmission grid, but also for the construction and installation of the appendant offshore converter platform.

Arkona’s wind turbines combined will have a capacity of 385MW, which is sufficient to supply about 400.000 households with green energy. The platform is the centrepiece of Arkona, collecting and converting the wind current for the transmission via submarine cables to 50Hertz’ onshore converter station Lubmin near Greifswald in the German federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Now, the shell construction of the platform has been finished and the ceremonial keel laying for the high-tech device took place in the French Atlantic town of Saint-Nazaire. At the shipyard of STX France SA in the Loire estuary, three of two platform modules have been transposed in the course of the ceremony onto a barge in the dry dock. The third is soon to follow.

The next step is the installation of the electrotechnical components from 50Hertz in the dry dock. When everything runs as planned, the barge with the platform is set to leave Saint-Nazaire in the spring of 2018 for a two week’s sea voyage to the Baltic sea. At its final destination in a distance of 35 kilometres from Rügen island, the platform will be assembled on the specially designed platform substructure, the so-called jackets.

> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)

Picture: 50Hertz / Christian Brehm

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DolWin gamma successfully installed

12.07.2017

The Dolwin3 grid connection for offshore wind farms in the south-western part of the German Bight has the capacity to supply more than one million households in Germany with green energy. The 900MW DC connection – the third in the DolWin cluster – is carried out by TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and GE, the general contractor of the whole offshore project. With the installation of the DolWin gamma converter platform, another major step towards the successful completion of Dolwin3 has now been taken.

DolWin gamma was shipped on 15 June in Warnemünde harbour in the German federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. From here it took six days along the German and Danish coast to reach the final destination in the north of Borkum island within a distance of 80 kilometres to the coastal line of Germany. During spells of fine weather the platform was installed onto the so-called jackets, the platform substructure that already had been erected in 2016.

DolWin gamma converts the AC produced by the wind farms into DC, which is transported via submarine and underground cables to the onshore converter station Dörpen West, where the reconversion into AC takes place. Wilfried Breuer, member of TenneT’s executive board and Director Offshore, declares: “The converter platform is one of the largest visible indicators of the German energy transition. Flagship projects such as DolWin3 are essential to provide customers from the north with wind power and to make renewable energy a reality.”

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: TenneT

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