Construction start of DolWin 6 converter station

24.10.2019

The so-called DolWin wind farm cluster in the southwestern part of the German Bight is an important component of Germany’s future regenerative energy supply. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is responsible for transferring the DolWin energy ashore. The DolWin1 and 2 onshore connections are in operation since 2015 and 2016 respectively, and DolWin 3 is ready for feed-in since September 2018. The other ongoing projects, DolWin 5 and 6, are also making good progress.

DolWin6 is a 900MW DC connection with a length of 90km. The associated offshore platform to convert the three-phase current generated by the wind farms into DC is DolWin kappa. Half of the 90km distance is covered by submarine cables and the other half by underground cables to transport the electricity from the landing site in Hilgenriedersiel to the TenneT facilities in Emden in the Lower Saxony region of East Frisia.

On the grounds of the Emden/Ost substation, the TSO is building a converter station and a transformer station to convert the DC back into three-phase current and feed it into the onshore grid. The first construction phase of the DolWin6 onshore converter station has now begun with the foundation work. In the next 6 months, 1000 piles with a length of up to 24 meters will be drilled into the ground to create a stable foundation for the station.

TenneT begins construction of the DolWin6 onshore converter station (pictures: TenneT)

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BorWin3 in operation

12.08.2019

The offshore grid connection BorWin3 operated by TSCNET shareholder TenneT in the German Bight is ready for feed-in since early August. This means that the total transmission capacity for offshore wind farms in the German North Sea is already 7.132GW. The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) has thus not only met the German government’s expansion targets for sustainable North Sea wind power – 6.5GW by 2020 – but has significantly exceeded them.

BorWin3, TenneT’s twelfth offshore grid connection project, brings a further 900MW capacity. After BorWin1 and BorWin2, it is the third connection that the TSO has implemented near the East Frisian island of Borkum using DC technology. The corresponding converter and transformer station were built at TenneT’s Emden/Ost site to feed the green energy into the onshore extra-high voltage grid. BorWin3 bridges a total distance of 160km. The submarine cable is 130km long and the last section ashore to Emden/Ost is completed by underground cabling.

The TSO can be satisfied with its own offshore progress, but TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens calls for further efforts, as the current rate of offshore wind expansion in Europe is not sufficient to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. “An accelerated, large-scale and internationally coordinated expansion is necessary,” explains Meyerjürgens. In this context, TenneT has just presented a feasibility study of the North Sea Wind Power Hub concept for the implementation of wind power distribution hubs in the North Sea. Meyerjürgens points out that with an internationally coordinated approach the connection and integration of large offshore wind energy capacities could be much more effective and cost-efficient than with continued individual national planning.

In early August, the offshore grid connection BorWin3 of TenneT was put into operation (picture of the offshore converter platform BorWin gamma: TenneT)

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66kV technology reduces offshore connection costs

08.05.2019

In future offshore projects, TSCNET shareholder TenneT will continue to reduce grid connection costs through standardisation and innovative technology. For the DolWin5 offshore grid connection in the so-called DolWin cluster in the south-western part of the German Bight, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) has contracted a consortium consisting of Aibel and Keppel FELS with ABB as subcontractor with the design, engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of a 900MW offshore HVDC converter platform and an onshore converter station.

The outstanding feature of the DolWin5 project is the innovative connection concept. The innovative 66kV technology from TenneT, which will be deployed, represents a new generation of low-cost offshore grid connections. The wind turbines will be directly connected to the offshore platform without the need for separate substations for the wind turbines. This direct connection not only omits any further substations but also the 155kV three-phase power cables for linking the wind farm to the offshore platform. Instead, 66kV three-phase cables will be used.

“With DolWin5 we open a new chapter in offshore grid connection technology: For the first time, the wind turbines are directly connected to our offshore platform,” comments TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens and adds: “This innovative technology results in an enormous cost reduction. The new direct connection will save around €200m in macroeconomic terms.”

TenneT opts for the innovative 66kV three-phase technology for future offshore connections (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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> Open artist’s impression video (TenneT, YouTube)

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Increase in North Sea capacities

11.01.2019

In terms of the “wind harvest” in the German control area of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, 2018 has been yet another record-breaking year. The result in 2018 exceeded the previous year’s figure by 4.9 percent. The wind energy transmitted from the North Sea by the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) amounted to 16.75TWh in 2018 – a new record. This was made possible by a total transmission capacity of 6,232MW provided by altogether eleven offshore connection systems, which have by now been connected to the onshore grid by TenneT.

That is more than in line with the German political targets. “With this, TenneT has now almost entirely achieved the federal government’s expansion goal of having 6,500MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020,” comments TenneT Managing Director Wilfried Breuer. And what’s more: “Already this year, TenneT will exceed this goal since the completion of BorWin3 in the course of 2019 will put a total of 7,132MW of transmission capacity into operation in the North Sea alone.”

In addition to the company’s infrastructural efforts, TenneT pursues numerous innovative technological approaches. A current example in the offshore sector is the planned 66kV technology, which will be used for the future TenneT offshore connections DolWin5 and BorWin5. 66kV technology can reduce investment and operational costs by millions as it supersedes offshore transformer platforms and significantly reduces the amount of cables required to connect individual turbine systems.

TenneT has increased its offshore transmission capacity from the German North Sea (picture: TenneT)

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Significant increase in German offshore capacity

15.01.2018

In the range of its German control area, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), has increased the offshore capacity to 5,332MW in 2017. Ten connection projects for the transmission of offshore wind energy to the onshore grid have already been completed, while two further connections are expected to be operational in 2019. Since four more grid connections are planned by 2025, the transmission capacity in the German North Sea is expected to increase to over 10,000MW.

“TenneT already now meets more than 82 percent of the German Federal Government’s expansion target, which envisages offshore wind capacity of 6,500MW by 2020,” says Lex Hartman, member of the TenneT executive board. The satisfactory offshore development is accompanied by further impressive numbers: The 2017 North Sea “wind harvest” exceeded the previous year by 47 percent, equating to a remarkable 15.9 percent share of total wind power generation in Germany. “The strong growth in the North Sea ‘wind harvest’ indicates that offshore wind power has become a major energy factor with high reliability,” adds Mr Hartman.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: TenneT (topside of SylWin1 grid connection)

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German North Sea wind power rises by 50%

28.08.2017

In the first half of 2017, TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), delivered approximately 7.77TWh of electricity generated by offshore wind in the North Sea – up 50% on the 5.18TWh in the same period 2016.

“The flow of energy from the North Sea has now reached a significant 16.5% share of overall wind energy generation in Germany and thus represents almost a sixth of the total wind power output,” said Lex Hartman, member of TenneT’s Management Board. “At the same time, future costs will decrease for wind farms and connection systems, which points to excellent economic performance in the field of offshore energy. We are also expecting this trend to continue as time progresses.” The TSO plans to complete further grid connections by the end of 2025, bringing available transmission capacity from the North Sea to more than 10GW.

> See Tennet press release (html)

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European Investment Bank supports NordLink

05.04.2017

The NordLink submarine cable is a key project for the European market integration and energy transition. It will be the first interconnection between Germany and Norway across the North Sea, thus coupling Norwegian hydropower capacities with German wind and solar energy: A true “green link”. NordLink is a joint venture of DC Nordseekabel GmbH & Co. KG and the Norwegian transmission system operator (TSO) Statnett. DC Nordseekabel GmbH & Co. KG is equally owned by TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, and the German promotional bank KfW.

NordLink is designated as project of common interest by the European Commission. The high voltage DC line with a capacity of 1,400MW and a total length of 624km is capable of providing renewable energy for more than 3.6m households in Germany. Being aware of the high significance of NordLink for the European energy infrastructure, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan of €350m to TenneT Holding B.V. Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the EIB, gives reason for EIB’s commitment to a sustainable energy market: “Forward-looking investments in modern energy infrastructure are the key to reach our ambitious climate goals.” Concerning NordLink, Mr. Fayolle adds that security of electricity supply and effective use of renewable energy would be improved significantly by the important interconnection project.

Otto Jager, CFO at TenneT, considers the diversified energy systems of Norway and Germany – hydroelectric power on the one hand and wind and solar power on the other – and explains the specific value of NordLink: “With this subsea interconnector we can exchange energy between two complementary energy systems. NordLink is a connection of European pertinence that benefits all countries, especially North-west Europe.”

> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot from the video “NordLink – ‘the green link'” (TenneT, YouTube)

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TenneT committed to offshore wind power

30.03.2017

Promoting the renewables from the perspective of a transmission system operator (TSO) is more than constructing pylons or laying cables. This is impressively demonstrated by TSC member TenneT. The Dutch-German TSO does not only provide the adequate infrastructure which is needed to integrate the renewables, but also develops innovative financing instruments to help realise its ambitious grid projects.

TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) reports for 2016 a new peak concerning the feeding-in of wind energy. Last year, the TSO has transmitted about 10.8TWh of electric power from offshore wind farms in the German part of the North Sea into the German grid. This is an increase of 47% over 2015 and also means, that the North Sea wind power transferred by TenneT alone accounts for 13.9% of the total German wind power generation in 2016. Lex Hartmann, managing director of TenneT, explains the company’s progress in terms of grid extension: “The time in which there was not enough connection capacity in the North Sea to transmit wind energy from sea to land is thus finally passed.” But Hartmann also puts his finger on the sore spot: “Offshore wind power comes to nothing if the extension of the onshore power grid does not keep pace with the extension of renewable energy.” Here the legislature is also obligated and coordinated action by all parties at European level is essential.

The pleasant news from Germany are accompanied by financial actions of TenneT TSO B.V. On 29 March 2017, the Dutch subsidiary of the binational TSO has issued the first-ever Green Hybrid Bond expected to generate a total of €1bn. The bond proceeds are destined to finance grid connections to offshore wind facilities. Otto Jager, CFO at TenneT, says: “Today’s inaugural Green Hybrid Bond issue demonstrates our ongoing commitment to green financing instruments and the further development of the green financing market.”

> See TenneT press release on wind energy feed-in, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release on bond issue (html)

Picture: TenneT

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Agreement for Power Link Island signed

24.03.2017

On the occasion of the North Seas Energy Forum in Brussels, Belgium, the transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSC members Energinet.dk (Denmark), TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) have signed on 23 March a trilateral agreement on the development of the North Sea Wind Power Hub, a large renewable electricity system in the North Sea.

The signing ceremony with Mel Kroon, CEO of TenneT, and Torben Glar Nielsen, CTO of Energinet.dk, was also attended by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union. The concept of the visionary hub project is double-sided. It is conceived as a large junction for thousands of offshore wind turbines and as an interconnector between the energy markets of the North Sea riparian states. The artificial Power Link Island is the core element of the system whose potential is impressive: Up to 100m Europeans might be supplied with renewable energy by 2050.

The partner TSOs are eager to expand their cooperation to a European multi-party consortium. Mel Kroon considers the common efforts of TenneT and Energinet.dk as “invitation to TSOs from North Sea countries” and comments: “The ultimate goal is to build a solid coalition of companies that will make the European energy transition feasible and affordable.” Torben Glar Nielsen lays emphasis on the challenges and potentialities of Power Link Island. It may sound “like a science fiction project”, but might turn out as a “very efficient and affordable way for the North Sea countries to meet the future demand for more renewable electricity”.

> See Energinet.dk press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot from the video “North Sea Island TenneT” (YouTube)

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