TenneT expands German headquarters

18.10.2019

The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT conducts its German business from Bayreuth. Here, in the capital of the Bavarian administrative district of Upper Franconia, TenneT moved into its new corporate headquarters in 2018 and is now investing a further €20m in a new office building with space for around 220 new employees. Construction began on 17 October 2019 with the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony attended by representatives from regional and national politics, associations, partner institutions and employees.

With the increasing challenges arising for TenneT from the energy transition, the number of its employees is also growing proportionally. Their number has risen significantly in recent years, and this growth will continue. In 2016, around 800 people were employed in Bayreuth, today it is almost 1,200. After the completion of the new building planned for 2021, the TSCNET shareholder will employ more than 1,400 people on the so-called TenneT campus.

“This is a strong signal for the enormous growth of TenneT and a clear commitment to the location in Bayreuth,” explains TenneT CFO Otto Jager. “From here, we will advance the energy transition with grid extension and innovation projects for a secure electricity supply.”

TenneT celebrates the construction start of a new office building on the Tennet Campus in Bayreuth (picture: TenneT; from left to right: Thomas Löw, CTO of the construction company Markgraf, Bayreuth’s Lord Mayor Brigitte Merk-Erbe, TenneT CFO Otto Jager and architect Johannes Jung)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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First cables of ALEGrO installed

27.09.2019

The “Aachen Liège Electricity Grid Overlay” (ALEGrO) will be the first direct interconnector of the German and Belgian electricity grids. Its transmission capacity of 1,000MW is going to significantly increase cross-border electricity flows and security of supply in the regions surrounding the new converter stations at the respective ALEGrO end points, Niederzier in Germany and Lixhe in Belgium. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is jointly being implemented by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and the Belgian TSO Elia.

In the summer of 2019, several teams were working simultaneously at different points along the 41km-long ALEGrO section in Germany on the installation of the conduit system for the underground cables. Underground cabling is used exclusively for the entire German-Belgian power bridge. Due to the dry summer, construction work on the DC link has progressed rapidly: 60 percent of the cable conduits have already been completed. Amprion is now beginning to pull the 320kV cables successively into the conduits, initially in Niederzier, where the construction of the new ALEGrO converter plant is also progressing well.

Amprion starts the installation of ALEGrO underground cables (picture: Rheinhard Nießing / Amprion)

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Central project management and office for SuedLink

24.09.2019

The SuedLink extra-high voltage line is not only the most important individual project of the energy transition in Germany, but also the largest underground cable project in the world: Around 700 kilometers of cable will be laid and around ten billion euros invested. By connecting the windy regions of northern Germany with the consumption centres in the industrially highly developed south, “power highways” such as SuedLink are indispensable for achieving Germany’s and Europe’s climate goals. SuedLink is implemented jointly by the two TSCNET shareholders TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and TransnetBW, the TSO from southwest Germany.

In order to efficiently advance the further approval procedure and the subsequent construction of SuedLink, the two TSOs have commissioned the international technical service company Jacobs as central service provider. The aim is to coordinate and control the various tasks such as planning, approval, obtaining easements and construction under one roof. This makes SuedLink the first major project in Germany in which an external central service provider is involved. TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens explains why the two partners decided on a model that has proven itself many times in such large-scale projects on the international market: “The schedule for implementation is challenging. At the same time, the expectations of politics and the public continue to rise. For this very reason, controlling and coordination play such an important role.”

The commissioning of Jacobs is accompanied by the opening of the central SüdLink office in Würzburg, Lower Franconia. Together with the central service provider, TransnetBW and TenneT will initially create 130 jobs there, the number of which will rise to 250 in the course of the project. To better incorporate regional knowledge into the planning process, further decentralised project offices are to follow along the route. Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, comments on the development: “By commissioning a central service provider and setting up a joint project facility in Würzburg, we have laid the foundations for the successful implementation of this major project.” The staff in Würzburg will include engineers, archaeologists, landscape planners, biologists, geologists, and project managers, all joining forces for Europe’s energy future.

TenneT and TransnetBW commission a central service provider for the implementation of SuedLink (picture: TenneT / Katja Schubert)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release on the office opening, in German (html)

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Reconstruction start at TransnetBW substation

18.09.2019

On September 18, TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), started the conversion of its substation in Schwörstadt with a symbolic cut of the spade. The construction site is located in the furthest southwest of the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg near the Swiss border. The upgrade provides the technical basis for connecting the substation to the 380kV extra-high voltage grid.

Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, referred at the groundbreaking ceremony to the steadily increasing share of renewables in the electricity mix, which confronts TSOs with maintaining voltage at a stable level despite the changing wind and weather conditions. “We are preparing the substation for the requirements of the energy transition and thus are also strengthening supply security in the Upper Rhine region.”

The reconstruction of the substation’s switchgear will be carried out in two stages, starting with the dismantling of the operations building and the switch panels of the existing 220kV switchgear. By 2021, the new 380kV switchgear will have been installed. The new device will initially be operated at 220kV before being connected to the 380kV grid in 2023. This implies that at the same time and section by section, the corresponding power lines will also be upgraded to 380kV.

TransnetBW starts conversion of the Schwörstadt substation (picture: TransnetBW; from left to right: Olaf Jungnitsch of GE Grid; Uli Glich, Project Manager Substations at TransnetBW; Christine Trautwein-Domschat, Mayor of Schwörstadt; Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board; Thorsten Schwarz, Managing Director GE Grid; Bernd Jauch, Head of Technology, Projects and Portfolio Management at TransnetBW)

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Environmental protection award for TSCNET employee

11.09.2019

Great honour for Diana Carolina Yule Burbano: The Junior Operations Manager in our Service Operations business unit was awarded the Environmental Protection Pin of the Fördergesellschaft der Schleswig-Holsteinischen Wirtschaft (Business Development Corporation of the German Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein) for “Efforts to Protect the Environment and Climate”.

As a graduate of the “Energy and Environmental Management” (EEM) course at the European University in Flensburg in northern Germany, the Colombian-born student cooperated with Schleswig-Holstein Netz AG, a power and gas network operator in Schleswig-Holstein and northern Lower Saxony, as part of her master’s thesis. The young scientist investigated which vehicle types of the company’s own fleet are suitable for conversion to electromobility and developed her own model for estimating consumption and thus for calculating the range, taking into account factors such as load, outside temperature and traffic situation. The annual award was presented in the castle of the state capital Kiel.

Diana has been working for TSCNET Services since autumn 2018. We all congratulate her on this great award.

Dr. Philipp Murmann presents the award to Diana Carolina Yule Burbano together with Dieter Haack and Matthias Dau (Photo: Jan Köhler-Kaeß, Flintbek)

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Swissgrid adjusts export capacities to Germany

03.09.2019

All participants in the integrated European electricity market have agreed on common definitions of the transmission capacity for international electricity exchanges, including the Net Transfer Capacity (NTC). The NTC is an important basis to anticipate and plan cross-border transactions. Thus, the establishment of NTCs is one of the essential tasks of the transmission system operators (TSOs) to enable market participants to carry out energy trading without jeopardising grid stability. TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss TSO, along with the neighbouring TSOs, determines the NTC values on all four Swiss borders on an annual, monthly and daily basis.

In the summer of 2019, Swissgrid had to reduce the NTC on the national northern border to Germany to ensure reliable grid operation. Originally, a static NTC value of 4,000 MW for exports from Switzerland to Germany had been defined with the neighbouring German TSOs. However, the load flows between the two countries have changed in the last two years. Situations in which Germany is dependent on imports, especially from Switzerland, occurred increasingly in the summer months. As a result, the previously typical north-south flow towards Italy reversed to a south-north flow towards Germany.

Other simultaneous factors also affected the Swiss grid load, such as the high level of Swiss hydropower production, the inspection times of the Swiss nuclear power plants and the seasonal decommissioning and construction work on the grid. In combination with the growth in exports to Germany, this led to significantly higher load flows in the Swiss 220kV grid, which were additionally reinforced by increased export opportunities from France to Germany through Flow-Based Market Coupling (FMBC) in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region and transit through Switzerland.

In fact, exports of up to 8,000MW were recorded on several days this summer. For this reason, Swissgrid, together with its neighbouring TSOs, has limited the NTC values for a secure grid operation. Swissgrid continues to cooperate closely with these TSOs to optimise cross-border capacity. The current static value of 4,000MW is expected to be substituted by seasonally adjusted dynamic NTC values. However, due to the implementation of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package” (CEP) of the European Commission, it is not yet possible to predict exactly how the NTC values at Switzerland’s northern border will develop.

Swissgrid adjusts the NTC values for electricity flows at the Swiss-German border

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Amprion commissions state-of-the-art technology

01.09.2019

The Kriftel substation between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden in the German federal state of Hesse controls power distribution for the greater Frankfurt area with its almost six million inhabitants. The station is operated by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), which has been expanding and modernising it since 2016 and has invested a total of around €34m. During a ceremony held on 30 August with representatives of state and local politics, the new, state-of-the-art equipment in Kriftel was put into operation.

Amprion’s substation not only secures the power supply in the northwestern Rhine-Main area but will now also play an important role in providing reactive power. The installation of the relevant technology in Kriftel became necessary due to the changes in power generation and feed-in in Germany. The declining reactive power capacities of large power plants, which are now being successively taken off the grid in the course of the energy transition, must be compensated by the national TSOs to keep the reactive power in balance with the active power and thus keep the grid voltage at the required level.

The hybrid reactive power compensation system installed in Kriftel is the most powerful of its kind in the German grid. It consists of two units: a static synchronous compensator system (Statcom) and a mechanical switched capacitor with damping network (MSCDN). Depending on requirements, they can raise or lower and secure the voltage in the grid. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, explained the importance of the new system technology: “By optimising the switching of many electronic modules, the new hybrid system in Kriftel will help to keep the voltage level in the grid stable and thus continue to guarantee a high level of supply security in the region.”

Amprion commissions the modernised Kriftel substation (picture of a Statcom system as installed in Kriftel: Siemens)

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50Hertz to improve grid utilisation

29.08.2019

To respond to current and future transmission system requirements, operators can either expand the grid or optimise its utilisation – ideally, they do both. TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is also facing up to the challenges arising from the higher capacity load on the existing grid. The TSO presented its innovative assets and concepts at the System Security Conference (“Systemsicherheitskonferenz”), which is held every two years by 50Hertz.

This year’s conference on 28 August, the 11th edition, attracted almost 150 participants from the energy industry, science, politics and administration to the Berlin headquarters of 50Hertz, where they were welcomed by 50Hertz CEO Dr. Frank Golletz, who also plays the role of the company’s CTO. Golletz explained how the TSO tackles the technical challenges using previously uncommon technologies such as static compensators (STATCOM), series compensations, back-to-back converters or static and rotary phase shifters. “With these assets, our grid becomes a highly dynamic grid in which the power flow is actively controlled,” commented Golletz.

In addition, Golletz argued that, alongside to the indispensable technical innovations, the rules on the energy market should also be continuously further developed. It is important to set the right incentives for all market participants so that the electricity market not only functions from a business point of view, but also keeps an eye on the entire economy.

50Hertz has held its 11th System Security Conference in Berlin, Germany (picture of headquarters: 50Hertz)

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Start of construction for replacement 380kV line in Lower Saxony

22.08.2019

The competent planning approval authority has granted TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the German-Dutch electricity transmission system operator (TSO), permission to build the 380 kV Emden – Conneforde line. Construction work will now be started immediately. The combined replacement new construction project is regarded as an important element for a successful energy transition – with the decision of the Lower Saxony State Authority for Road Construction and Transport after several years of preparation and intensive citizen dialogue, network expansion in northern Germany continues to pick up speed.

“The new transmission line supports the transport of renewable energy to the high-consumption regions and thus contributes to greater security of supply,” explains TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens. The approximately 60-kilometer-long line runs from Emden through four administrative districts and is to run underground on two sections with a total of around five kilometres. Commissioning is planned for 2021. The existing 220kV line between Emden and Conneforde will then be dismantled.

TenneT has received approval for the construction of the 380 kV Emden – Conneforde line and will begin construction immediately (collage using pictures of TenneT)

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TransnetBW order for “bnBm” gas power plant

20.08.2019

TSCNET Services shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), has awarded Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) the contract for the provision of a “special network equipment” (“besonderes netztechnisches Betriebsmittel”, bnBm). EnBW will construct and operate a gas turbine power plant with a capacity of 300MW at Marbach. The city is the birthplace of the poet Friedrich Schiller and is located about 20 kilometres north of Stuttgart on the Neckar River.

The special network equipment will not be available to the market, but will be used from 1 October 2022 as a “safety buffer” exclusively at the request of TransnetBW to ensure safety and reliability in the transmission grid. It thus serves as a further reserve for the safety and reliability of the electricity supply system.

“Behind us lies a demanding tendering procedure, because we had to procure a completely new product,” says Dr. Rainer Pflaum, Managing Director of TransnetBW. It was about access to a capacity that “helps to stabilise the power grid flexibly and reliably”. The new plant would be an important component for supply security in the region.

Together with the TSOs Amprion and TenneT, TransnetBW issued a call for tenders for the special grid technology equipment with a total volume of 1,200MW open to technology and Europe-wide at the end of June 2018. Altogether, the tenders cover four regions in southern Germany, each with a capacity of 300MW.

TransnetBW placed an order for the provision of a gas turbine power plant with a capacity of 300MW (picture: EnBW)

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> Open TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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