€2.9bn for Austria’s grid infrastructure


Grid expansion planning needs to be transparent and internationally coordinated. Each TSCNET shareholder complies with this and the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) APG has just implemented these principles with its Network Development Plan 2019 (NDP2019). The thoroughly designed NDP has now been approved by E-Control, the government regulator for electricity and natural gas markets in Austria.

APG will invest €2.9bn over the next ten years to ensure the security of supply and the grid in Austria. Many investments are related to the decarbonisation of Austria and the implementation of the Austrian energy and climate strategy “#mission2030”, which sets the national goal of covering 100% of electricity consumption with renewable energies by 2030. Gerhard Christiner, CTO of APG, explains that “many energy-intensive industrial and commercial enterprises will switch to electricity from renewable sources”. This requires extension measures and the NDP defines the infrastructure projects necessary to facilitate the transmission of the required electricity over the next ten years.

In addition to the very important Salzburg line (“Salzburgleitung”) and the Weinviertel Line (“Weinviertelleitung”) in Lower Austria, transmission capacities and power supply in the central Upper Austria region must be extended. To this end, a feed-in concept was developed for industrial customers. Also important is the speedy expansion of transmission capacities between Austria and Germany and between Austria and Italy.

The Austrian NDP2019 has been approved by the competent government regulator (picture: APG)

> See APG press release (html)

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TenneT expands German headquarters


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)

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Billions for the Austrian electricity infrastructure


The electricity transmission system of TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) is increasingly reaching its limits due to the restructuring of the energy system, notably through the integration of renewable energies. As a result, TSO interventions for grid stability and security of supply are currently causing monthly costs of €10m for Austrian electricity customers. APG is determined to respond with an even faster expansion of its high-voltage grid.

The recently granted official approval for the construction of the 380kV Salzburg Line (“Salzburgleitung”) is only the beginning of fulfilling the “#mission 2030”, the Austrian energy and climate strategy that sets the national goal of covering 100% of electricity consumption with renewable energies by 2030. APG has announced the “Austrian Electricity Infrastructure Billion” for further major projects to sustainably secure Austria’s power supply – the largest investment offensive to date into the Austrian transmission grid with a total of €2.5 bn over the next 10 years.

In addition to the Salzburg Line, there are two other large-scale projects: The expansion of the existing grid in the greater Linz Area and beyond (Project “Upper Austria Central Region”) and the replacement of the overhead line through the Weinviertel (“wine quarter”) in the northeast of Lower Austria. For the volatility management that will become more and more necessary in the future, APG is also pursuing innovation projects focusing on central topics like battery storage, digital substations or sector coupling.

“Full focus on renewables is the only sensible way,” explain Gerhard Christiner and Thomas Karall, CTO and CFO of APG respectively. However, they also emphasise that a strong transmission system is the precondition for the full integration of renewables, the decarbonisation targets of the industry, the full utilisation of the pumped storage potential in the Alps and the reduction of costs for grid-stabilising emergency measures.

APG launches billion-euro investment strategy for infrastructure (picture: screenshot taken from video “Wind braucht starke Netze”, APG/YouTube)

> See APG press release, in German (html)

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Investing in green energy


The expansion of the transmission infrastructure for the integration of renewable energies is a cardinal obligation for transmission system operators (TSO) in the 21st century. As far as TSCNET shareholder TenneT is concerned, the ongoing efforts of the Dutch-German TSO to promote sustainable energy sources are not limited to the physical implementation of infrastructure projects. TenneT is also active on the financial market as the largest corporate issuer of Green Debt in the Netherlands.

Now, the TSO has again successfully issued €1.25bn of long term Green Bonds on the Dutch market in two tranches of €500m and €750m respectively. This adds up to €6.25bn of green issuances since TenneT established its green financing framework in 2015. Over the next 10 years, TenneT’s investments in Dutch and German offshore and onshore grid connections are expected to total €28bn. With the inclusion of the Dutch offshore projects Borssele Alpha and Borssele Beta, eleven projects are currently part of the Green Project Portfolio and financed through TenneT’s Green Bonds.

> See TenneT press release (html)

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High costs prevent superconductor in Enschede


A transmission system operator (TSO) is responsible for a secure and sufficient supply of electricity within its control area. But besides issues of system security and reliability, TSOs have to operate cost-efficiently to provide customers with an appropriate electricity rate. Such economic requirements apply to the Dutch-German TSCNET shareholder TenneT as well as to any other TSO, and also in consideration of the given official regulations, TenneT is expected to be economical in its publicly-funded investments in the high-voltage grid.

In the city of Enschede in the eastern Dutch province of Overijssel, TenneT investigated wether the installation of a 3.4km-long section of superconducting cable is feasible and reasonable. As it turned out, a superconductor would cost about four times more than a conventional cable under the specific conditions in Enschede. This excessive difference in investment costs led TenneT to refrain from the ambitious cable project.

A High-Temperature Superconductivity (HTS) cable can transmit up to five times more electricity than a conventional cable. Apart from that, it emits neither an electromagnetic field nor heat, resulting in significantly lower spatial requirements. Although this actually makes a superconductor highly suitable for inner-city applications, it would currently be too expensive to install a superconducting cable of only a few kilometres in length. But as HTS-technology is developing rapidly, a superconductor could become more affordable in the future. Given these conditions, TenneT will reconsider the deployment of HTS even for short intra-urban cable sections.

> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: “Kleurrijk Enschede” by Fred Veenkamp (Creative Commons BY-SA 2.

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TenneT continues green financing


The commitment of TSC member TenneT to sustainable financing concepts for investments in the transmission of electricity from offshore wind farms remains steady: The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) yet again has succesfully issued long term green bonds on the Dutch financial market. With two tranches of each €500m, TenneT has underpinned its status as the most important issuer of green debt in the Netherlands.

Altogether eight Dutch and German offshore projects benefit from TenneT’s green financing framework, which the TSO established in 2015. The planned investments in offshore wind energy are expected to total €9 to €11bn over the coming years, presumably resulting in the realisation of connection capacities totalling over at least 15GW in the Dutch and German sectors of the North Sea.

> See TenneT press release (html)

Illustration: TenneT


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Further green bond issue by TenneT


Following the public offering of green bonds in May and July 2016, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member TenneT has yet again succesfully issued another long term green bond on 10 October. The €500m bond issue equates to a total long-term debt in green format of €3bn.

TenneT’s green bonds are funding investments in the transmission of sustainable energy thus creating an environmental and climate related benefit. The current bond issue supports the connecting of five offshore wind farm projects to the onshore grid. TenneT is the largest corporate issuer of green debt in the Netherlands.

> See TenneT press release (html)


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Cornerstone ceremony for “TenneT Campus”


TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is expanding its German corporate headquarters in Bayreuth, Germany. On 29 June 2016, Urban Keussen and Mel Kroon, TenneT chief executive officers, Franz Josef Pschierer, Bavarian State Secretary, and Brigitte Merk-Erbe, Lord Mayor of Bayreuth, jointly laid the first stone for the new building.

TenneT is not only extending its German headquarter but will also generate 200 new jobs approximately. The company invests about €50m in renovations, extensions and new constructions. The newly built facilities of “TenneT Campus” will meet all ecological standards with a low heating demand, a photovoltaic system and a cogeneration unit. The completion of the work is expected in late 2017.

During the ceremony, Urban Keussen pointed out that TenneT “as the largest German TSO ensures from its location in Bayreuth the electricity supply in Bavaria and Germany and is responsible for a large part of the grid expansion for the energy transition”. In the future there will be around 750 employees in Bayreuth, “more than twice as many as in 2010”. “Tennet Campus” is meant to be “an inspiring work environment for our employees to meet the challenges of the energy transition”.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: Screenshot “BR24

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Amprion’s grid investments exceed €500m


TSC member Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), held its annual press conference on 15 June 2016 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The TSO looked back on the previous fiscal year and gave predictions for the current year.

Amprion’s Chief Commercial and Financial Officer, Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, commented on the situation of grid developement in Germany: “Last year, the legislature has laid down the tracks for the network expansion. The task now is to implement the projects quickly and citizen-friendly.” Already by now the company’s progresses regarding grid expansion are notable. This applies not only to flagship projects like the direct current line “Ultranet”, which Amprion jointly develops with further TSC member TransnetBW, but also to many other less prominent but equally important line constructions. Chief Technical Officer Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte referred to more than 300 line and plant construction projects in 2015. This led to an increase of Amprion’s investments in the electricity grid to a total amount of €474m in the respective year. In 2016 the TSO plans to outnumber last year’s record level by investing €550m. In doing so, Amprion relies on innovative technology, transparency and citizen participation: In 2015 the company informed the public about construction projects at more than 500 events.

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick appraised Amprion’s power lines as “life lines of the national economy”. In 2015 Amprion’s high-voltage grid –with a total length of 11,000 km – distributed around 190 terawatt-hours of electricity. Also in economic terms the last year was a success for Amprion. With €11.9bn the revenues reached a new record high and profits increased by 14 percent to €171m, partially favoured by law and tax-related one-time effects. “On balance we have a stable earnings level”, concluded Brick.

> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

Picture: Amprion

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TenneT investments at all-time high


While the earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by nearly a fifth to EUR704m in 2015, TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), invested a record EUR2.4b in the maintenance and expansion of onshore and offshore high-voltage grids. The annual report also shows an impressive overall grid availability (99.9975%) and can be downloaded for free.

> See TenneT press release (html)

> Open TenneT Integrated Annual Report 2015 (html, microsite)

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