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)

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

See article on single page

TYNDP2020 applications from infrastructure projects

26.09.2019

The biennial Ten-Year Network Development Plans (TYNDPs) are compiled by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) with the participation of the member transmission system operators (TSOs). The TYNDPs derive from the in-depth identification of Europe-wide power-related key investments and infrastructure projects with high potential.

From mid-October to mid-November, ENTSO-E accepts applications for electricity and storage projects for the forthcoming TYNDP2020. To assist project promoters in preparing their submission sufficiently, ENTSO-E yesterday published a guidance for applicants. The guideline contains information on the procedure and timetable for applying to TYNDP2020, the administrative and technical criteria to be met by the projects and the documents and information to be submitted to verify compliance with these criteria. The guide is supplemented by the demonstrative slide presentation “Applying to the TYNDP2020 – A visual guide to the main steps”.

The application period for the TYNDP2020 starts in mid-October

Linkup

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open Guidance for applicants (pdf, 508kb)
> Open ”Visual guide to the main steps” (pdf, 112kb)

See article on single page

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)

Linkup
> 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)

See article on single page

50 new pylons for the Pradella-La Punt line

19.09.2019

The extra-high voltage line in the Swiss Engadine between Pradella/Scuol and La Punt represents a bottleneck in the Swiss and the European transmission grid. To remedy this shortcoming, TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), began upgrading the 380kV line to 2 x 380kV in October 2017. This will increase import capacity from the north, strengthen interconnections with Austria and Italy and facilitate the transport of hydropower in the canton of Grisons. The project also improves security of supply in Switzerland and is part of the “Strategic Grid 2025”, Swissgrid’s ambitious modernisation and expansion plan.

Basically, the upgrade means that Swissgrid will attach a second 380kV line to the pylons, which are originally fitted with only one line on one side. Over the past two years, the TSO has reinforced the mast foundations between Pradella and La Punt and will complete this work in autumn. But Swissgrid has also examined the static of the pylons and discovered that some of them have insufficient load capacity for the second circuit. For safety reasons, it was thus decided to replace 50 of altogether 127 masts instead of reinforcing them. This change has no impact on the routing, but on the schedule: The commissioning of the upgraded line will be delayed by at least one year and is now planned for 2022.

Swissgrid has to erect 50 new pylons for the Pradella-La Punt line (picture: Swissgrid)

Linkup
> See Swissgrid news release (html)

See article on single page

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)

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

See article on single page

ČEPS half-year report: Profits support infrastructure

16.09.2019

In 2019, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO) ČEPS continues its extensive infrastructure investment programme to ensure that the development of the Czech transmission system meets the increasing demands of the rapidly changing energy sector. The profits now presented in the company’s half-year report facilitate these efforts considerably.

The TSCNET shareholder concluded the first half of 2019 with a pre-tax profit of CZK 2.3bn (about €88.84m) and a total revenue of CZK 11,903bn (about €460m), an increase of CZK 1,54bn in comparison to the same period in 2018. “Cross-border auctions account for 38% of revenues,” explains Martin Durčák, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČEPS. As far as the TSO core business is concerned, a total of 32,760GWh was transferred in the first half of 2019.

An important infrastructure project completed in July 2019 is the connection of the Řeporyje-Prosenice line to the Mírovka substation. The branching of this almost 300km long line, which connects the periphery of Prague with the Olomouc region in the east of the country, will increase the safety and reliability of the Czech transmission grid. Other significant investment measures already implemented this year include the construction of the new Přeštice-Vítkov line linking the Plzeň to the Moravian-Silesian Region. In Vítkov, a new 420kV substation with a gas-insulated switchgear was installed to complement the new line construction.

ČEPS reports positive figures for the first half of the 2019 business year (picture showing Prague, Czechia: JÉSHOOTS)

Linkup
> See ČEPS press release (html)

See article on single page

Borssele Alpha ready to operate

05.09.2019

Just one month ago, TSCNET shareholder TenneT fully implemented BorWin3 in the German Bight, the twelfth offshore grid connection project of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). Now there is once again good news for the energy transition, this time from the Dutch North Sea: Borssele Alpha, TenneT’s first and largest connection system for wind farms in Dutch territorial waters, is ready for operation – right on schedule and within budget. From 2020 on, Borssele Alpha will supply the green electricity from the offshore wind farms Borssele I and II ashore.

The two Borssele wind farms will have a capacity of around 700MW. The Borssele Alpha grid connection will transmit the electricity to the substation near the town of Borssele in the Dutch province of Zeeland, where TenneT has built a new transformer station next to the existing station. The Borssele grid connection is TenneT’s first Dutch major project under the National Energy Agreement for offshore wind farms and fully complies with the conditions set out in the Dutch government’s Offshore Wind Energy Development Framework.

According to the Energy Agreement, TenneT will have installed 3,500MW of grid connections for offshore wind farms by the end of 2023. The next project is Borssele Beta, followed by Hollandse Kust (zuid) Alpha and Beta and Hollandse Kust (noord). TenneT’s standardised procedure for offshore connections will make it possible to complete these projects more efficiently, quickly and economically. In line with the Dutch Follow-up Roadmap for Offshore Wind Energy, a further 6,100MW of offshore wind energy will be realised between 2024 and 2030.

The Borssele Alpha offshore grid connection of TenneT is operational (picture: Screenshot taken from the Borssele video)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)
> Watch TenneT video “Opening Borssele Trailer Master” (YouTube)

See article on single page

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)

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

See article on single page

Swissgrid commissions new transformer in Laufenburg

28.08.2019

TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), has successfully taken a new transformer into operation in the Laufenburg substation. It is part of the “Strategic Grid 2025” and plays a central role in the Swiss transmission grid. The new transformer connects the 380kV and 220kV grid levels and increases the capacity of the Laufenburg substation from 600 to 800MVA. It ensures the supply of electricity to the Swiss population, even in the event of increased electricity demand in the future.

The transformer consists of four poles, three active poles and one reserve pole. In the event of a fault, the reserve pole can replace the defective pole without time-consuming displacement. What would otherwise take weeks can be carried out in Laufenburg in just a few days. The protective measures correspond to the highest standard. The new transformer replaces the old one after 53 years of operation.

Swissgrid has put a new transformer into operation at the Laufenburg substation (picture taken from the Swissgrid video “Ein Riese geht ans Netz”, YouTube)

Linkup
> Visit Swissgrid news release (html)

See article on single page

Nordic TSOs present new development plan

26.08.2019

The four Nordic transmission system operators (TSOs), which include the the Danish TSO and TSCNET shareholder Energinet, Fingrid from Finland, Statnett from Norway, and Svenska kraftnät from Sweden, have published the new edition of the biennial Nordic Grid Development Plan. The four TSOs will continue to intensify their cooperation work in the future and shape it even more comprehensively.

It is planned to significantly expand the transmission grid. The main reasons for this are increased volatility due to the massive increase in renewable electricity generation, the decommissioning of fossil fuel facilities, the growth in consumption from increasing electrification and new industries, aging equipment and the need for reinvestment in existing grid assets, and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Sweden. The capacity for the import and export of electricity between the Nordic states and continental Europe is also to be substantially increased with several interconnectors. At the same time, several measures are being developed to make electricity markets and grid operations more effective.

The four Nordic TSOs have published the biennial Nordic Grid Development Plan (picture: Fingrid)

Linkup
> Open Energinet press release (html)
> Open Nordic Grid Development Plan 2019 (pdf, 17.85MB)

See article on single page