Laying of NordLink submarine cable near completion

20.06.2019

NordLink, the “green cable”, which for the first time will directly connect the electricity markets of Germany and Norway, has reached another important milestone. With the pull-in of the submarine cable beneath the dyke at Büsum in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein on 19 June, the 154-kilometre section from the cable landing point at the dyke through the Wadden Sea and the open sea to the Danish territorial waters is almost complete. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), which is cooperating with the Norwegian TSO Statnet on this European project of common interest (PCI), had started to install the submarine cables for NordLink in the German Bight last year.

“With today’s successful pulling of the subsea cable beneath the land protection dyke, we have practically completed the laying of the NordLink subsea cable,” comments TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens. Now the 54-kilometre onshore cable section will be successively laid from the dyke to the converter site in Wilster. Since the laying of the submarine cable in Danish and Norwegian waters is also almost concluded with only a few remaining works, and the construction of the 53km overhead line on the Norwegian mainland is progressing well, NordLink is expected to be commissioned as planned in 2020.

For the submarine cable work, TenneT was in close consultation with nature conservation authorities to ensure that operations in the Wadden Sea National Park were conducted as carefully as possible. Upon completion, the NordLink high-voltage DC interconnector will have a capacity of 1,400MW and a total length of 623km. By coupling different renewable energies and forms of storage – Norwegian hydropower plants with wind farms and solar parks from Germany – NordLink is a “green link” in the truest sense of the word.

TenneT has nearly completed the installation of the NordLink submarine cables (picture: TenneT)

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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)

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TenneT presents Annual Report

21.02.2019

The transition to significantly more solar and wind energy in the power grid continues to have a substantial impact on the business operations of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). The apparent progress made by TenneT in this respect is reflected in the TSO’s just published Integrated Annual Report 2018, which is accompanied by the Green Finance Report 2018. To further advance the energy transition, TenneT focuses on the innovation and optimisation of the existing transmission system as well as on major national and international grid expansions. Manon van Beek, CEO at TenneT, refers to the necessity “to expand and reinforce our grids both onshore and offshore” and further explains: “We must also use the capacity of this infrastructure better, more flexibly and efficiently with the help of technology.”

TenneT again achieved a very good financial result in 2018. On an underlying revenue basis of €4.2bn, the TSO invested €2.3bn (2017: €1.8bn) in the energy transition and security of supply, with remarkable success, as grid availability in 2018 was 99.9988% within TenneT’s control area. And apart from the ensured reliability of the current transmission system, TenneT also wants to guarantee security of supply in the future. Since the energy future cannot be realised without inventive concepts, TenneT was and will be very active in innovation research for a flexible and affordable energy system based on solar and wind energy as well as green hydrogen. Several research projects are currently underway with renowned partners from industry and science.

Especially in terms of wind energy, TenneT is setting standards by reaching a new milestone in Germany and bringing almost 17TWh of offshore wind energy ashore in 2018. TenneT’s total connection capacity for offshore wind farms grew to 6,232MW. The BorWin3 and DolWin6 projects, which will be completed in 2019 and 2023 respectively, will further increase capacity to more than 8,000MW in Germany, while the development of an offshore grid in the Dutch North Sea is also progressing as planned.

Another important operational objective of TenneT is the further integration of the Northwest European electricity market, which is essential for the success of the European energy targets. One of TenneT’s current projects is the Doetinchem-Wesel link between the Netherlands and Germany, which went into operation in September 2018. In addition, the COBRAcable subsea connection between the Netherlands and Denmark has “landed” at the Eemshaven connection point and will be commissioned this year. Also worth noting is the NordLink cable connection currently under construction, which will be the first direct link between the German and Norwegian markets. The 624km interconnector is expected to come on stream in 2021. TenneT will then be operating 16 interconnectors in total.

TenneT presents its Integrated Annual Report 2018 and Green Finance Report 2018 (picture: screenshot taken from video “50 Hertz – The challenge of continuous electricity”, TenneT – Youtube)

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Laying of NordLink cables in the German Bight

03.09.2018

About one year after the first kilometres of submarine cables have been laid in the south Norwegian Vollesfjord, the cable work has now also started on the German NordLink side. Over the next few weeks, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), will lay 99km of cable into the Wadden Sea floor. This first section lies between the Büsum dike in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein and the southwest of the island of Sylt.

In 2019, another 55km will be laid in the German offshore area up to the border of Danish territorial waters. There, the cable end will then be connected to the 228km long cable section to be laid in the Danish North Sea area. TenneT’s submarine cable work is carried out in close coordination with nature conservation authorities. The TSO implements the respective requirements of the competent federal and regional agencies, ministries and administrations strictly to ensure that the Wadden Sea National Park is treated as considerately as possible.

The Nordlink high voltage DC interconnector between Germany and Norway will have a capacity of 1,400MW and a total length of 623km. By coupling different renewable energies and storage forms ‒ Norwegian hydropower plants and wind and solar farms from Germany ‒ NordLink is a “green link” in the truest sense of the word. TenneT cooperates in this European Project of Common Interest (PCI) with the Norwegian TSO Statnet.

The laying of sea cables is accompanied by work on the mainland to connect the respective converter stations. The construction of an overhead line on the Norwegian side is expected to be completed in 2019, and on the German mainland, NordLink will be laid as an underground cable between the Büsum dike and the Wilster converter station starting in 2019. Completion of the entire NordLink interconnector is scheduled for 2020.

The Dutch-German TSO TenneT starts laying of submarine cables for the German-Norwegian interconnector NordLink in the German Bight (picture: TenneT)

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Continuing EIB support for NordLink

14.08.2018

The Nordlink interconnector between Germany and Norway is a lighthouse project for the European market integration and energy transition. By coupling Norwegian hydropower capacities with renewable energy from Germany, the high voltage DC line with a capacity of 1,400MW and a total length of 624km (516km of which are submarine cables) is in the truest sense of the word a “green link”. The two transmission system operators (TSOs) involved in the European Project of Common Interest (PCI) are TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, and its Norwegian equivalent, Statnett.

The European Commission (EC) as well as the relevant European institutions are highly aware of NordLink’s significance for the future energy infrastructure of the continent. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is funding NordLink since last year and has now reaffirmed its commitment to the project by closing a single investor tap of TenneT’s 2017 hybrid bond. The EIB has purchased €100m hybrid securities. This transaction ‒ incidentally the bank’s first ever stake in a market hybrid bond issuance ‒ is backed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

Maroš Šefčovič, the EC Vice-President for the Energy Union, welcomes EIB’s support for NordLink as a “forward-looking investment into modern energy infrastructure” and identifies the interconnector as a “smart combination of renewable power generation”. EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle assures that “the security of supply and effective use of renewable energy remain high on the agenda for EIB financing”. Mr Fayolle calls NordLink “exactly the type of project the EIB was set up to do sixty years ago”. And also Otto Jager, CFO at TenneT, is very happy with the development of the project: “We are proud that we are the first issuer of a market hybrid bond with the EIB as participant.”

In support of the construction of NordLink, the EIB closes a €100m single investor tap of hybrid bonds issued by TenneT (picture: TenneT)

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Seven onshore transformers for NordLink

04.06.2018

During seven nights between 7 and 23 June 2018, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), expects the supply of altogether seven 225-tonne transformers to the NordLink converter station near Wilster in the southwest of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. NordLink is the first direct interconnector between Germany and Norway. The high voltage DC line with a capacity of 1,400MW and a total length of 623km ‒ including 516km submarine cable ‒ enables the exchange of Norwegian hydropower and German wind energy.

The transformers are delivered by ship from their Swedish manufacturing site to Brunsbüttel port on the Elbe estuary. The last 16.5km to the converter station will be carried out with a heavy-duty road train with 36 axes, a length of almost 76m, and a total weight of 417 tonnes.

Nordlink, a green link in the truest sense of the word, is a lighthouse project for the European market integration and energy transition. The Wilster converter station has been under construction since September 2016, and the laying of the cables has begun in 2017. TenneT and the Norwegian project partner Statnett anticipate the completion of NordLink in 2020.

Picture: TenneT (picture of a previous transformer transport)

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TenneT reports on a prolific 2017

23.02.2018

With the Integrated Annual Report 2017 and the Green Finance Report 2017, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), yet again presents a combination of healthy financial results (22 percent boost in revenue, experiencing a jump from €3,227 million to €3,948 million) with an enduring commitment to the sustainable energy future and impressive investments (€736 million invested in the Netherlands, and €1,032 million in Germany) in the transmission system of the future. The company’s strategy for increasing the grid resilience while maintaining high supply security includes extension of the TSO’s onshore and offshore infrastructure, the development of a more flexible electricity system, and the introduction of intelligent software based on blockchain technology.

Prominent examples of TenneT’s forward-thinking actions in 2017 are two pilot projects in the Netherlands and Germany, which enable consumers to take part in the electricity market, as well as offshore systems for connecting wind farms to the onshore grid, or interconnectors such as the Dutch-Danish COBRACable and NordLink between Germany and Norway. The conception of an artificial island in the North Sea, the North Sea Wind Power Hub, to bundle wind power capacities and, moreover, to connect national markets, is perhaps TenneT’s most outstanding future vison in this regard. In 2017, TenneT was able to enlarge the Power Hub Consortium promisingly.

TenneT’s CEO Mel Kroon is profoundly pleased with the TSO’s business year and comments: “In 2017 we made good progress on realising our strategic priorities.” Mr. Kroon emphasises that the company succeeded in combining supply security with grid modernisation and expansion, but also pointed out the future tasks: “Now that modern society is increasingly dependent on electricity, the costs of renewable electricity decrease significantly and ‘green power’ is supplied by a wide range of sources at countless locations, we must shift to a new electricity system that can support this revolution.”

> See TenneT press release (html, with access to the reports)

Picture: TenneT

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Roofing ceremony for NordLink converter station

10.10.2017

Comprising a total length of 623 kilometres of cables, the NordLink interconnector between Germany and Norway will be one of the longest systems for high voltage DC transmission in the world. NordLink, which is jointly carried out by TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), Norwegian TSO Statnett, and the German promotional bank KfW, couples hydropower capacities in Norway with German wind and solar energy. In terms of environmental performance, the ambitious project goes far beyond mere market coupling, but is truly a “green link”.

The laying of the NordLink submarine cables has already begun this summer on the Norwegian side, accompanied by further construction works. On the German side, the first cables will be laid in 2018. With the roofing ceremony for the NordLink converter building on 6 October at Wilster substation in the southwest of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, “NordLink is now becoming visible”, as Lex Hartman, member of TenneT’s executive board, puts it. In the two converter stations – the counterpart of Wilster in the southern Norwegian town of Tonstad is also under construction – the transmitted DC is converted into AC for the feed-in into the respective national transmission grids.

The ceremony was also attended by Robert Habeck, Schleswig-Holstein’s deputy Minister-President and Minister of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalisation. Mr Habeck emphasised the transboundary dimension of the project: “With NordLink the energy transition becomes European. This is a must.”

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Picture: TenneT

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First NordLink kilometres laid out in fjord

02.08.2017

In every sense of the two words, the NordLink submarine cable is a “green link”. The first interconnection between Germany and Norway across the North Sea is destined to couple Norwegian hydropower capacities with German wind and solar energy. The European “Project of Common Interest” – a joint venture of TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), Norwegian TSO Statnett, and the German promotional bank KfW – is as path-breaking for the European market integration as it is for the energy transition.

The laying of the NordLink cable started on August 1 in the south Norwegian Vollesfjord. From here, a cable lay vessel heads for the Danish territorial waters of the North Sea, followed by another special vessel that buries the cable in the seabed. In 2018, the cable laying will continue to the border of German territorial waters, where the submarine cable shall meet its counterpart, the laying of which began at the coast near Büsum in the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. The cable ends will be connected in the open sea, resulting in one of the world’s longest systems for high voltage DC transmission – with a total length of 623 kilometres (of which 516 kilometres are submarine cables) and a capacity of 1,400MW.

Lex Hartman, member of TenneT’s executive board, considers Norwegian hydropower and German wind and solar power as “two perfectly complementary systems for the exchange of renewable energy”. Mr Hartmann is pleased to report, that the work on NordLink, which is expected to be completed in 2020, is right on schedule. “On the German side, we are already installing the ducts for the cable under the land protection dike near Büsum.” And also other important steps have already been taken, since on both ends of NordLink, the German Wilster and the Norwegian Tonstad, the necessary converter stations are currently under construction.

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Picture: TenneT

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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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