“Middle Axis” partially in operation

24.01.2018

The federal state of Schleswig-Holstein is the most northern part of the German control area of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). It is characterised by windy coastal regions and thus a significant wind energy production. Naturally, the northern state plays a key role in the national energy transition. Due to the high feed-in of green electricity, Schleswig-Holstein’s existing high-voltage grid has long been at the load limit. Hence, the construction of new extra-high voltage power lines for transporting the electricity to Germany’s southern and western consumption centres is indispensable and a policy aim.

One such new line is the so-called “Middle Axis” from Denmark to Hamburg, a replacement construction for the old and insufficient 220kV overhead line, that runs through central Schleswig-Holstein. The 380kV “Middle Axis” will be supplemented by coastal lines in the east and west (“East-Coast-Line” and “West-Coast-Line” respectively). On 23 January, the southern section of the line between the substations Hamburg/Nord and Audorf has been officially put into operation in the presence of Robert Habeck, Deputy Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein and Minister of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature, and Digitalisation. The new “Middle Axis” section has seven times the transmission capacity of the old line.

Mr. Habeck and Lex Hartman, member of the TenneT executive board, jointly pressed the symbolic button for commissioning the line section after three years of construction. The Deputy Prime Minister conceded during the ceremony, that “the grid extension is one of the most unpopular sides of the energy transition”, and therefore specifically recognised TenneT’s endeavours to involve the public early and adequately. Besides paying tribute to the benefits for the energy transition, Lex Hartman also mentioned the economic and operational value of the project for the TSO: “Already this first construction section of the ‘Middle Axis’ has caused a significant reduction of grid-stabilising measures and interventions in the conventional energy production in Schleswig-Holstein during its gradual technical commissioning since the end of December.”

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: TenneT

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Designing a nordic balancing model

22.01.2018

The Danish TSCNET shareholder Energinet is one of the five nordic transmission system operators (TSOs), who all join forces in creating a balancing model for the future nordic electricity system. For that purpose, the nordic TSOs have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding, which defines important principles for this model, like establishing one common Nordic Load-Frequency. The CEOs of the nordic TSOs released a joint statement declaring that the companies are working on a collective proposal to the national regulatory authorities.

> See Energinet press release (html)

Picture: Edited screenshot taken from video “Nordic RSC” (YouTube, Energinet)

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Delivery of West-Coast-Line transformers

20.12.2017

The substation Heide-West in the most northern German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein is an important node of the “Westküstenleitung” (“West-Coast-Line”), which is planned and currently constructed by TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). This 380kV power line with a length of about 140km is one of TenneT’s numerous projects to transmit green electricity generated by wind farms in the German north to the main consumption centres in the west and south. The “West-Coast-Line” will also enhance transmission capacities between Denmark and Germany.

In the course of this week, two direct coupling transformers, the core elements of the substation, are to arrive at Heide-West. With a capacity of 300MVA each, they are capable of transforming electricity for around one million households. By connecting TenneT’s extra high-voltage grid to the 110kV grid of the local distributor, the transformers ensure the integration of wind power into the supra-regional transmission system. The transformers reached the port of Büsum by ship earlier this month, and since they both have a transport weight of 260t, they will be delivered individually in the period from 20 to 23 December by means of heavy-duty road transport.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: TenneT

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Foundations for Combined Grid Solution completed

15.12.2017

The Combined Grid Solution will serve as first Danish-German offshore interconnector in the Baltic Sea. By linking the German wind farm Baltic 2 to the planned Danish wind farm Kriegers Flak, which is less than 30 kilometres distant, and thus using the national grid connections of these offshore facilities, the Danish region of Zealand will be connected to the German federal state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The ambitious project, awarded as Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission, is carried out by two TSCNET shareholders, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO) Energinet and 50Hertz, one of the four German TSOs.

A significant progress for the Combined Grid Solution has now been reported by 50Hertz: The gravity foundations for the two transformer platforms at Kriegers Flak were assembled in the Belgian port of Ostende and are ready for shipping. The assembly consisted of placing the so-called transition pieces on the concrete foundations. The transition pieces are the connecting element between the gravity foundation and the topside of each platform. The larger one of these transformer platforms will be the linking point between the Danish and the German transmission systems.

> See 50Hertz press release (html)

Picture: 50Hertz

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Danish-German countertrade models

01.12.2017

The DK1-DE interconnector between Danish Jutland and the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein is the western link between the transmission systems of Denmark and Germany. This summer, the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate and the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in liaison with the respective national regulatory authorities declared their common aim to secure a minimum of available hourly import and export capacity on the DK1-DE interconnector. Subsequently, it was up to the two TCNET shareholders Energinet.dk, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and the Dutch-German TSO Tennet to provide for the implementation of the governmental agreement.

The declaration stipulates that in cases of physical congestions the two TSOs are to perform countertrade operations to secure the minimum capacities. This is what Energinet and TenneT are doing since early July 2017, thus guaranteeing minimum available hourly capacities. While up to now, the TSOs bank on existing methods, this might not be sufficient in view of the expected growing amount of countertrade in the future. Energinet and TenneT have therefore compiled an Impact Assessment of various alternative countertrade options, which now has been published. The assessment serves as basis for selecting a definitive countertrade model.

> See Energinet press release (html, with access to the Impact Assessment document)
> See TenneT press release (html, with access to the Impact Assessment document)

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Port of Rotterdam joins power hub consortium

28.11.2017

The European climate and energy objectives are undoubtedly ambitious – nonetheless, the European transmission system operators (TSOs) are eager to fulfill their part in realising a sustainable low-carbon energy future. For this purpose, exceptional lighthouse projects are required, such as the North Sea Wind Power Hub. This visionary hub concept comprises the construction of one or more so-called Power Link Islands situated in shallow North Sea waters with ideal wind conditions. Connected to a large number of offshore wind facilities, such an island can facilitate the distribution and transmission of wind-generated electricity and also serve as interconnector between North Sea riparian states.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub was originally conceived by TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. In March 2017, TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands) and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) were complemented by another TSCNET shareholder, Energinet from Denmark. The hub consortium was further expanded in September, when Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transmission company Gasunie joined, bringing its expertise in terms of power-to-gas technologies into the fold.

Now another important step for the success of North Sea Wind Power Hub is taken: The Port of Rotterdam has become the fifth member of the hub consortium. The Port of Rotterdam not only pursues a clear sustainability strategy, but also has pertinent knowledge in the field of seaward land reclamation. With respect to the island construction, the port’s specific experiences will prove to be very valuable for the hub project.

> See TenneT press release (html)
> See Energinet press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

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Energinet enhances Danish interconnections

31.10.2017

The Viking Link cable from Denmark to Great Britain is the largest single interconnector ever to be realised by TSCNET shareholder Energinet, the national Danish transmission system operator (TSO). Its figures are impressive: On a total length of approximately 770km (630km submarine and 140km underground cable), Viking Link will offer a transmission capacity of 1,400MW, which corresponds to the output of 3-4 large offshore wind farms. Energinet’s plans for Viking Link are accompanied by another important European upgrade measure, in this case concerning the power grid in western Jutland and its interconnection to northern Germany.

The latter project involves the replacement of an old 150kV overhead line with a 400kV line in the northern line section and the construction of a new 400kV line in the southern part. The Dutch-German TSO and further TSCNET shareholder TenneT complements Energinet’s efforts by upgrading the grid on the German side of the border, thus further expanding the interconnection capacities. Viking Link and the Jutland upgrade are both appointed as Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) by the European Commision, and Viking Link will additionally receive financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility programme.

In late October, the Danish Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate has approved to both projects, so that Energinet can invest a total of around 11bn Danish Kroner (about €1,478bn) in their realisation. They will make a significant impact on the Danish and European supply security and the integration of renewables. Besides vast environmental and sustainability effects, Torben Glar Nielsen, CTO at Energinet, also expects considerable socio-economic benefits not only in Denmark but also in the neighbouring countries.

> See Energinet press release (html)

Picture: Energinet

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Consortium for Wind Power Hub expanded

14.09.2017

Meeting the future demand for renewable electricity and achieving the EU’s offshore wind energy targets as well as the objectives of the Paris climate agreement – these are primary concerns for European transmission system operators (TSOs) such as Energinet from Denmark, TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany). Earlier this year, the three TSC members have thus agreed to jointly explore and develop the North Sea Wind Power Hub, a large renewable electricity system in the North Sea. The TSOs also expressed their intention to expand the cooperation to a European multi-party consortium.

The basic idea of the visionary hub project is the construction of one or more so-called Power Link Islands in the shallow waters of the central North Sea. A large amount of offshore wind facilities is to be connected to such an island, that will serve as distributor and transmitter of sustainable energy, and above that as interconnector between the energy markets of the North Sea riparian states. Since power to gas technologies are destined to play an important part in the European energy landscape of the future, they are likewise an integral part of the North Sea Wind Power Hub – in terms of gas-based transmission and storage solutions.

Given this premise, it is very welcome indeed, that the Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transmission company Gasunie has joined the hub consortium. Gasunie will not only contribute its expertise regarding gas storage and transport, but also its technological experience in the handling and conversion of renewable gases such as hydrogen. Power-to-gas conversion techniques allow to store and transmit large quantities of wind-generated energy in the form of hydrogen. Storage on a Power Link Island would take place close to the offshore energy source, and from here, the energy could be transmitted through an existing gas infrastructure.

> See Energinet press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from video “North Sea Island TenneT” (TenneT, YouTube)

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KONTEK interconnector under repair

18.08.2017

There are two interconnectors linking the Danish transmission grid and the transmission system in northern Germany: In the west between Jutland and the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, and the eastern connection between Bjæverskov on the Danish island of Zealand and Bentwisch in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The latter one, named KONTEK, is a 400kV DC earth and submarine cable connection with a total length of 170km and a transfer capacity of 600MW.

Two oil-leaking sockets have been detected in the German land cable section of KONTEK in mid-July. Preparations for repair works started immediately and the subsequent mendings will probably continue til September or October. Hence, the interconnector had to be switched off for several times, and further switch offs will be unavoidable. It is for this reason and to avoid capacity curtailments, that TSC member Energinet, the national Danish transmission system operator (TSO), announced that no capacity will be offered in the monthly auction for September 2017 between DE and DK-2.

> See Energinet.dk press release (html)

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Collaboration and innovation – TenneT report

28.07.2017

A whole lot of aspects from the half-year report of TSC member Tennet are worth mentioning, but what might be considered as especially valuable and forward-thinking is the continuing effort of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) in promoting the European energy collaboration and market integration. Tennet complements these efforts with the development of digital solutions for the renewable’s integration to facilitate the energy transition.

Mel Kroon, CEO at TenneT, mentions two essential catalysts of a sustainable European energy future: “Further integration of the North-West European electricity markets” to improve green energy management, as well as “smart, innovative systems” to match future energy demand and supply. Among TenneT’s most prominent international projects are the so called Power Link Island, a North Sea Wind Power Hub to be developed jointly with Danish TSO Energinet, the COBRAcable between the Netherlands and Denmark, or the NordLink cable to connect the Norwegian and German electricity markets. TenneT’s key initiative in terms of smart software solutions is the research on block chain technology fostering local, flexible electricity generation.

The company’s European commitment is emphasised by the opening of a representative office in Brussels in June and the appointment of Ben Voorhorst, Chief Operating Officer of TenneT, as President of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in March. As far as TenneT’s operating results in the first half of 2017 are concerned, the TSO reports satisfactory figures, with profits before interests and taxes growing to €478m. Infrastructural investments in the Netherlands and Germany remained on a high level since large-scale grid extension projects, on- and offshore, are being implemented continuously. To help financing these investments in the transmission of the renewables, TenneT has yet again succesfully issued long term green bonds with a nominal total value of €2bn in March and June respectively.

> See TenneT press release (html)
> Open TenneT half-year report 2017 (pdf, 2.58mb)

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