Second draft of revised German GDP

16.04.2019

In early February of this year, the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT, and TransnetBW had submitted the first draft of the new 2019 version of their “Grid Development Plan (GDP) 2030” together with the Offshore GDP to the German Federal Network Agency. Both GDPs were also published for a four-week public consultation. The total of 906 comments and proposals on both GDPs have been incorporated into the second draft of the two GDPs, whenever purposeful and reasonable. This second draft has now been forwarded to the Agency and published on the joint GDP website.

While all the different scenarios of the GDP 2030 meet the official German target of 65 percent for renewable energies in gross electricity consumption, they differ in terms of technologies as well as storage and flexibility options. The TSOs respond in the GDP to the increase in the required transport capacity due to the gap in the German electricity market with the renewable generation mainly in the north and the consumption centres in the south and west. For the second draft of the GDP 2030, the TSOs have taken greater account of the possible German coal exit to ensure that the grid development measures identified in the scenarios are appropriate even in the case of an early and complete phase-out.

In all scenarios for 2030, the transmission capacity of the DC connections amounts to a total of 12GW, while the concrete figures for the need for grid reinforcements (2750 to 2800km) and new construction measures (1600 to 1700km) differ slightly. In the second draft of GDP, the TSOs carried out a cost-benefit analysis for a total of eight interconnectors and a reassessment of system stability. This analysis reveals a considerable need for reactive power compensation systems. As a result, the costs for onshore measures in scenario B 2030 increase from €52bn to €61bn compared to the first draft. The Network Agency will now evaluate the revised draft and adapt its own planning, which then must be confirmed by the Federal Government in the official Federal Requirements Plan.

The four German TSOs have published the second draft of the GDP 2030, version 2019 (picture: Amprion)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)
> See TransnetBW press release (html)
> Visit the GDP website (html)

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Record-setting offshore connection

09.04.2019

The IJmuiden Ver offshore wind farm project in the Dutch sector of the North Sea will be equipped with two onshore connections from 2024 to 2030. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), has announced to link the 6.1GW of the new offshore wind farms to the Dutch high-voltage grid via two 525kV DC cables with a capacity of 2GW – this will be the highest in the world. As a result of the increased capacity, only two instead of six cables will be required, resulting in lower costs, as well as less space requirements and environmental impact.

A total of four converter stations are required for the DC transmission, which prevents transport losses: two offshore converter platforms for converting the wind-generated AC into DC and two onshore converters for the reconversion. The 2GW connections are possible due to TenneT’s unique experience with HVDC grid connections in Germany, where TenneT will connect offshore wind farms with DC technology on a large scale. The TSO also uses the 525kV high voltage level for NordLink, the new international connection between Germany and Norway, as well as for the German onshore projects SuedLink and SuedOstlink.

TenneT has ambitious offshore plans, since the TSO has been commissioned by the Dutch government to connect a total of 9.6GW offshore capacity, of which 5.6GW will be realised with AC connections and 4GW with innovative DC connections. Together with the offshore wind farms already in operation, the offshore wind energy capacity is expected to reach 10.6GW in the Netherlands in 2030. Because of the considerable total capacity of IJmuiden Ver, the associated onshore connection is a core component of TenneT’s offshore grid development in the Netherlands.

Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, comments on the IJmuiden Ver project: “We are making an important contribution to accelerating the energy transition. Based on our experience with innovative technology in Germany, we can now help to realise the Dutch ambitions for the development of offshore wind energy with fewer cables, fewer platforms and less spatial impact and nuisance to the environment, both at sea and on land.”

TenneT connects Dutch offshore wind farm with a record capacity of 2GW (picture: TenneT , artist’s impression)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in Dutch (html)
> Open artist’s impression video (TenneT, YouTube)

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Research on impacts of underground cabling

04.04.2019

In Germany, it is a political objective to advance the grid expansion by installing underground cables. The Federal Government – and also the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) – hope by this means to increase public acceptance of the high-performance power lines needed to transmit electricity from the windy north of the country to the consumption-intensive south and west. But what the resident population may welcome, unsettles those through whose land the underground routes run, especially owners and cultivators of agricultural land.

The Dutch-German TSCNET shareholder TenneT itself would like to learn more about possible impacts of underground cabling on agriculture, for example in terms of soil physics or groundwater quality. The TSO has thus entered into a research cooperation with the Georg-August-University Göttingen. Together with members of the Departments of Agricultural Soil Science as well as Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, subsection Agribusiness Management, the long-term effects of three-phase underground cables on agricultural land will be investigated over a period of six years. For this purpose, a 2500m² test field for the construction and operation of 380kV underground cables is being set up at the Reinshof test farm near Göttingen in the German state of Lower Saxony.

The research partners hope to draw concrete conclusions from the test results for the construction of extra-high voltage underground cable routes as well as recommendations for recultivation measures. For these purposes, the operation of underground cables is simulated on the test field. Empty conduits are heated through heating tapes so that their thermal characteristics correspond to the power loss of real 380kV three-phase underground cables. In addition, the effects of the construction works are investigated. In this context, it is also of interest how long it takes until the original soil condition is restored.

TenneT is researching the long-term impacts of underground power transmission cables on agricultural land (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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DA/RE enters pilot phase

02.04.2019

Following its launch in June 2018, the Baden-Württemberg grid security initiative “DA/RE” (“DAta exchange/REdispatch”) has entered the pilot phase on 1 April. The DA/RE initiators are TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, the German transmission system operator (TSO) from the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the southwest German distribution system operator (DSO) Netze BW with the support of the State Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector. Meanwhile, several grid and facility operators are involved and actively participating in the pilot phase.

DA/RE responds to the increasing volatility and decentralisation of power generation. By utilising the flexibility potential of decentralised plants from lower grid levels, the entire electricity system is intended to be stabilised. Basically, DA/RE is an IT platform, through which grid operators can obtain information on flexibility potentials and coordinatedly retrieve them. In the trial phase, scheduled to last until the end of September 2019, two essential modules for data exchange and coordination between grid and facility operators are to be tested.

With its wide range of decentralised systems, DA/RE adequately represents the current market for flexibility. “Together we can thus test the processes with different DSOs up to medium voltage level and provide the further course of the project with valuable experience,” explains Florian Gutekunst, DA/RE project manager at TransnetBW.

The DA/RE initiative for grid security initiated by TransnetBW is entering the pilot phase

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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PtG pilot plants on an industrial scale

29.03.2019

Power-to-Gas (PtG) technologies have the potential to compensate for the weather-related volatility of renewable energies. More specifically, PtG can be used to convert sustainable electricity into gas (green hydrogen or methane), so that the gas infrastructure is additionally available for the transport and storage of electricity from renewable sources. The TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, are taking the next important step towards implementing the two most powerful sector coupling projects currently underway in Germany: “hybridge” and “ELEMENT ONE”.

The respective gas transmission partners of Amprion and TenneT are Open Grid Europe for the “hybridge” project and Gasunie and Thyssengas for ELEMENT ONE. Both PTG plants are to convert up to 100MW of electrical power into gas. Their construction is planned at two different sites in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, each close to wind power generation centres and well-developed gas infrastructure.

The grid operators have submitted the necessary investment applications for both projects on 29 March to the Bundesnetzagentur (German Federal Network Agency). If the Agency gives the green light, ELEMENT ONE will be gradually operational by 2022 and hybridge will be fully functional by 2023. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, comments on the application, that major PtG projects must now be pushed forward, “if we want to use PtG technology on a large scale in Germany in the 2030s”.

Amprion and TenneT have submitted investment applications for their respective PtG pilot plants hybridge and ELEMENT ONE (picture: Open Grid Europe GmbH)

Linkup
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Visit hybridge website, in German (html)
> Visit ELEMENT ONE website, in German (html)

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“Tremendous potential in self-learning systems”

26.03.2019

The “ZfK”, short for “Zeitung für kommunale Wirtschaft”, stands for the leading medium for municipal utilities as well as supply and disposal companies in Germany. One of the editors, Stephanie Gust, conducted an interview with Maik Neubauer, one of the two managing directors of TSCNET Services, which has now been published with the latest issue under the rubric “Nachgefragt” (“Enquired”).

In addition to the company’s role and tasks in the operation of the European electricity transmission grid, the talk also focuses on the potential of so-called Artificial Intelligence (AI). “At present, AI does not play a major role with us,” Neubauer regrets. Although the Munich-based Regional Security Coordinator (RSC) “works with very complex algorithms and mathematical models to calculate network bottlenecks or available capacities”, but “these systems are not yet self-learning” and do not yet issue reliable forecasts based on empirical values. “Here I see a very high potential for risk analysis in the future – both at the transmission grid level and in the distribution grids,” explains Neubauer. Due to the courtesy of the publishing house, we can offer the entire text (in German) here.

Maik Neubauer interviewed by “ZfK”, the German trade journal on municipal economy

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> Open “ZfK” interview, in German (pdf, 216kb), with kind courtesy of VKU Verlag GmbH, Munich
> Visit “ZfK” webpage (html)

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First capacity offers on WindNODE platform

17.03.2019

Today’s energy market, with its ever-increasing share of volatile quantities of electricity from renewable sources, demands optimum capacity utilisation and systematic use of flexibility – already now and even more so in the future. To be well prepared for the challenges ahead, more than 70 partners from all over eastern Germany are working on the WindNODE project, including TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, the German transmission system operator (TSO) responsible for the region. A core component of WindNODE is the flexibility platform, through which regional producers, consumers, and storage operators offer TSOs and distribution system operators (DSOs) flexible use of their facilities. This is intended to reduce the throttling of wind turbines in the event of grid bottlenecks.

The WindNODE flexibility platform has been in trial operation since November 2018. On 14 March 2019, capacities were offered and called up for the first time. “This means that the trial operation is now entering the practical phase and we can demonstrate that the integration of numerous producers, storage facilities and consumers in one market environment leads to less throttling of renewables – especially now in a very windy season,” explains Georg Meyer-Braune, project manager WindNODE at 50Hertz. The test phase of the platform will last until summer 2019 and processes will be gradually established at further partners, who will thus become potential suppliers. The platform will then be in continuous operation until the end of the project term in 2020. The aim is to use the dedicated facilities for congestion management also after the completion of the WindNODE project.

The first capacities have been offered and called up on the WindNODE flexibility platform (illustration using a screenshot taken from video “Die WindNODE-Flexibilitätsplattform erklärt”, 50Hertz – YouTube)

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

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Tim Meyerjürgens appointed as new COO of TenneT

05.03.2019

When it was made known that Wilfried Breuer, one of the two Chief Operations Officers (COO) of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, would leave the company with effect from 1 April 2019, the Supervisory Board of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) has commenced a thorough search for an adequate successor. Now Tim Meyerjürgens has been appointed COO of TenneT Holding BV alongside Ben Voorhorst.

Both the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board are pleased to have found in Tim Meyerjürgens a candidate within the company who, with 23 years of experience in the energy sector, possesses a broad technical and operational expertise. Throughout the current month, Tim Meyerjürgens and Wilfried Breuer will be working closely together to ensure a seamless handover.

Tim Meyerjürgens is appointed new COO of TenneT (illustartion based on pictures from Tennet)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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50Hertz plans to invest some €3.4bn

26.02.2019

Northeast Germany – and thus the control area of TSCNET shareholder 50Hertz, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) – continues to be a pioneer in the integration of renewable energies in Central Europe. For the second year in a row, renewables accounted for more than half of electricity consumption, and once more a new record was set with a regenerative share of 56.5% (2017: 53.4%). The installed capacity of renewables rose to 32.9GW, which is why Boris Schucht, CEO of 50Hertz, had every reason to express his contentment with this development during the 50Hertz balance sheet press conference on 26 February 2019 in the German capital of Berlin: “We are proud that with this record share of renewables, we can contribute to a successful energy transition.” Since this share will increase continuously in the 50Hertz control area, the federal growth target of 65% for 2030 can be achieved as early as 2021.

At the same time, the costs for congestion management, mainly caused by redispatch, fell significantly last year, by an impressive €100m to around €105m. This is due in particular to the effect of the extra-high voltage line “Südwest-Kuppelleitung” (aka “Thuringian Power Bridge”) and two now fully operational phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) on the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic respectively. But also in the future, the expansion of the transmission infrastructure must keep pace with that of the renewables. 50Hertz is taking this into account with exceptionally high investments in the transformation of the energy system. These are facilitated by the TSO’s excellent operating results. Over the past five years, 50Hertz has already invested over €3bn in the grid (€492m in 2018). By 2023, 50Hertz plans to spend a further €3.4bn (€420m in 2019).

Among the outstanding infrastructure projects are the “Ostwind 1” offshore connection, which has been in trial operation since last year, and the “Combined Grid Solution”, a Danish-German interconnector in the Baltic Sea that links the German “Baltic 2” wind farm with the Danish “Kriegers Flak” farm and will be connected to the grid in 2019. The supra-regional DC project “SuedOstLink” is making significant progress, too, as the federal sector planning is underway and the European tender for the underground cables has been launched. 50Hertz CTO Dr. Frank Golletz, who will take over the function of Boris Schucht as interim CEO from 1 March 2019, announced the continuation of the TSO’s ambitious investment program. Golletz also pointed out that the political and regulatory framework must be optimised and made innovation-friendly to realise the energy transition.

50Hertz presents excellent results for 2018 and announces further sustainable investments in its transmission grid (illustration using pictures of 50Hertz)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release (html)
> Open press conference presentation, in German (pdf, 4.09MB)

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TSOs introduce possible SuedLink routings

21.02.2019

The SuedLink extra-high voltage line is an integral part of Germany’s future low-carbon energy infrastructure. Major supra-regional projects such as Suedlink are included in the German Federal Requirements Plan Act and are often referred to as “power highways”. In order to reach Germany’s and Europe’s climate goals, they are indispensable to link the windy regions of northern Germany with the consumption centres in the industrially highly developed south. SuedLink is jointly carried out by the two TSCNET shareholders TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and TransnetBW, the TSO from southwest Germany.

The European “Project of Common Interest” (PCI) with an investment volume of around €10bn is planned as a DC underground cable. It comprises two measures with a capacity of 2GW each, from the northernmost federal state of Schleswig-Holstein through western Lower Saxony, northern Hesse and southern Thuringia to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg respectively. In 2017, TenneT and TransnetBW defined a whole network of possible corridor sections suitable for detailed consideration. On that basis, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) decided on the cable routes to be thoroughly analysed. In recent months, TenneT and TransnetBW then carried out an in-depth examination and evaluation of these corridor alternatives by applying around 150 criteria.

On 21 February, the two TSOs presented the proposed corridor and the other corridor options derived from their study to the Network Agency. “With the detailed studies of the possible corridor variants, we have now identified a specific underground cable corridor that has the smallest possible impact on humans and nature,” explains Manon van Beek, CEO at TenneT. To give all interested parties the opportunity to inform themselves in advance, TenneT and TransnetBW publish the overview maps of the proposed corridor and the grid of all possible corridors on their respective project websites. Numerous dialogue events are to follow. “Transparency is one of our highest priorities,” comments Dr. Werner Götz, CEO at TransnetBW, on this procedure.

TenneT and TransnetBW present possible corridor variants for SuedLink (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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