Significant progress for ALEGrO

03.05.2019

October 2018 saw the start of construction of ALEGrO, the “Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay”, which is the first direct interconnector of the German and Belgian electricity grids. With a transmission capacity of 1,000MW, ALEGrO will increase cross-border electricity flows and, at the same time, supply security in the western German region of Aachen-Cologne. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is realised jointly by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and the Belgian TSO Elia. Only a few months after the start, Amprion can already report some great strides in the construction work.

Underground cabling is used for the entire ALEGrO route (approx. 49km in Belgium and 41km in Germany) and two new converters are being installed at each end of ALEGrO at the substations Oberzier in Germany and Lixhe in Belgium. The coordination effort for the German-Belgian power bridge, which crosses numerous roads, waters or forests, is considerable: Explosive ordnance clearance and the demolition of remnants of world war bunkers are daily business, but of course archaeological investigations and nature conservation are also part of today’s construction standard.

Several teams are working simultaneously at different points along the route in Germany, laying cable conduits into which the conductor cables will later be drawn. 5km of the conduit system have already been completed and 25km are currently under construction. At the Oberzier substation, a hall is currently being erected to house the converter technology. Work is also proceeding well in Belgium, and according to current planning ALEGrO should be operational by the end of 2020.

Amprion is making good progress with the construction of ALEGrO (picture: screenshot taken from video “Elia ALEGrO Project – Reportage”, Elia, YouTube)

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Construction start for ALEGrO

30.10.2018

As a responsible and future-conscious transmission system operator (TSO), TSCNET shareholder Amprion is committed to the European Energy Union. An outstanding project in this respect is the Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO), the first interconnector to directly connect the German and Belgian electricity grids. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is being implemented jointly by Amprion and the Belgian TSO Elia. Following a pleasingly short approval procedure, the starting signal for ALEGrO was given today in the commercial area of the west German city of Aachen. Here, Amprion celebrated the start of construction with a symbolic turning of the first sod.

The ceremony was attended by numerous high-level representatives from politics, business and public life, among them Armin Laschet, Minister President of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, who commented: “ALEGrO is a milestone for cross-border power supply and not only connects North Rhine-Westphalia and Belgium, but also brings Europe closer together.” Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, complemented: “ALEGrO becomes part of the EU’s electricity highway system, which links the centres of renewable energy generation with the major consumption centres in Europe.”

For the entire ALEGrO route (about 49km in Belgium and 41km in Germany) underground cabling will be used. The cable laying work is accompanied by the installation of converters at the ends of the cable in Oberzier in Germany and Lixhe in Belgium, which convert AC into DC and vice versa. ALEGrO will have a transmission capacity of 1,000MW and thus provide urgently needed grid capacities for cross-border electricity flows. At the same time, ALEGrO will also strengthen supply security in the Aachen-Cologne region.

Amprion celebrated the start of construction of the Belgian-German interconnector ALEGrO (picture: Marcus Pietrek / Amprion; from left to right: Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion; Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia; Marcel Philipp, Lord Mayor of Aachen)

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Amprion invests on record level

08.06.2017

During its annual press event in the German capital of Berlin on 7 June 2017, TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), presented impressive facts and figures from the business year 2016. The expansion and modernisation of the transmission system remains the prime challenge for Amprion. Last year, the TSO invested €567m in grid infrastructure, topping the investements of 2015 by more than €90m. “To advance the energy transition, we invested as much in 2016 as never before”, explains Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, Amprion’s Chief Commercial and Financial Officer.

Grid extension is essential to the future security of electricity supply in Germany and beyond. This became explicitly clear throughout the cold periods of last winter, when Amprion was confronted with an extremely high transport demand on the north-south power lines of the company. In view of the imminent shutdown of the nuclear plants in southern Germany, such high demands are very likely to become the rule. That is why Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, Chief Technical Officer at Amprion, declared: “We urgently need to speed up the expansion of the transmission grid.” Nevertheless, already now the TSO has realised large parts of its objectives: “At the end of 2016, well over two-thirds of our planned 2,000 grid extension kilometres were approved, under construction or already completed,” comments Dr. Kleinekorte.

In order to prepare the transmission system for future requirements, Amprion banks on innovative projects and solutions, such as the Belgian-German interconnector ALEGrO, or the exploration of new drilling methods for the trenchless laying of underground cables (E-Power Pipe). However, the TSO’s efforts are not confined to aspects of grid expansion. “We must continue to develop our energy system as a whole,” said Dr. Brick. “We need more transparency, flexibility and a genuine integration of renewable energies into the market so that we can reduce costs.” As far as the Amprion’s economic performance in 2016 is concerned, Dr. Brick was able to report an increase of sales revenues to €2.2bn (€1.9bn in 2015). Profits decreased by 7.6 percent to €158m (€171m in 2015), mainly due to a necessary workforce expansion. Another reason was the inevitable performance of expensive grid stabilisation measures this winter.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

Picture: Amprion / Lutz Kampert

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Amprion prepares ALEGrO cabling

06.04.2017

The Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO) will play a significant part in the European transmission infrastructure and market integration. The first interconnector between Germany and Belgium is an EC project of common interest and realised jointly by the Belgian transmission system operator (TSO) Elia and TSC member Amprion, one of the four German TSOs.

Underground cabling will be used for the entire route of about 49km in Belgium and 41km in Germany. The binational high voltage link ALEGrO will have a total transport capacity of up to 1,000MW, hence providing urgently needed grid reserves for cross-border electricity flows and also supply security for the German metropolitan area of Cologne.

On the German side of the border, Amprion pursues the necessary preparatory works – like ordnance clearance and archaeological investigations – with great energy. Subsequently, the German TSO will apply for plan approval at the compentent authority in the course of the second quarter of 2017. According to current planning, ALEGrO is scheduled for operation in 2020.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

Picture: Screenshot from video “Das ALEGrO-Projekt” (Elia, YouTube)

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Converter stations for ALEGrO

29.11.2016

The Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO) is one of Europe’s major infrastructure projects. Graded as project of common interest by the European Commission, it will be the first interconnector between Germany and Belgium and a significant part of the European electricity highway system. With a total length of 90km, ALEGrO will be realised by means of underground cables in close coperation between TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and the Belgian TSO Elia.

On 27 November 2016, the two TSOs have awarded the German engineering conglomerate Siemens with a €273m contract for the design, supply, installation, commissioning and five-year maintenance of the two high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) converter stations at each end of the ALEGrO undercround cable. For the cable itself, Amprion and Elia already signed a €125m contract with Silec Cable on 29 September. The transnational high voltage link ALEGrO with a maximum transport capacity of up to 1,000MW and a high degree of energy flow controllability will be an invaluable benefit to the integration of the European energy markets. “We can control the power flow of the cable with a high degree of accuracy and adjust the volume of electricity and flow direction”, comments Klaus Kleinekorte, Managing Director of Amprion. The ALEGrO interconnector with all its components is scheduled for operation in 2020.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

> Open Elia press release (pdf, 196kb)

Picture: Amprion

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Interconnecting Belgium and Germany

30.09.2016

The Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO) will be the first interconnector between Germany and Belgium. TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and the Belgian TSO Elia cooperate closely on the realisation of this major infrastructure project which has been graded as project of common interest by the European Commission.

The two TSOs have signed a €125m contract on the delivery and installation of a 320kV bipole high voltage DC extruded underground cable with Silec Cable, a subsidiary of General Cable, the world’s largest wire and cable manufacturer. ALEGrO will have a capacity of 1,000 megawatts and a total length of about 100km. The interconnector will allow a high degree of electricity flow controllability, increase supply security for both partner countries and support the integration of renewable energy. Klaus Kleinekorte, Managing Director of Amprion, concludes that “ALEGrO will make the European electricity network even more secure and powerful”.

> See Amprion press release, in German and, optional, English (html)

Picture: Amprion

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