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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> See TenneT press release (html)

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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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TSO cooperation for Power Link Island

10.03.2017

An artificial island in the shallow Dogger Bank area of the North Sea connected to numerous nearby wind farms and distributing wind electricity to North Sea riparian states – in June 2016, TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), first revealed this ambitious concept of Power Link Island. Now TenneT takes its vison one step further. On 23 March, during the North Seas Energy Forum in Brussels, Belgium, TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) will sign a trilateral agreement with partner TSC member Energinet.dk, the national Danish TSO, on the cooperative development of this visionary North Sea Wind Power Hub.

Large amounts of wind and solar energy need to be fed into the transnational transmission system to succed with the energy transition on a pan-European level. Since the required quantity might not be attained by all individual European states, close cross-border cooperation on infrastructure is indispensable. Power Link Island would make a perfect example of such an international cooperation. It is not only conceived as distributor of sustainable energy, but also as interconnector between the energy markets of the riparian states. TenneT and Energinet.dk are in contact with further potential partners in order to compose a European multi-party consortium to promote Power Link Island.

The CEOs of both companies, Mel Kroon of TenneT and Peder Østermark Andreasen of Energinet.dk, appraise the innovative potential of Power Link Island. Kroon explains that “this project can significantly contribute to a completely renewable supply of electricity in Northwest Europe”. Andreasen stresses the economic efficiency of offshore energy and the need for “innovative and large-scale projects so that offshore wind can play an even bigger part in our future energy supply”.

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

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

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TenneT conceives artificial North Sea island

11.06.2016

To succeed with the energy transition on a pan-European level, wind and solar energy is needed to a large extent. Since the required amount of energy from renewable sources might be unattainable for some individual European states, close transnational cooperation in terms of infrastructure and facilities is utterly needed. The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member TenneT has developed the concept of an island in the North Sea to which numerous high-sea wind farms could be connected and from where the wind electricity could be distributed to North Sea riparian states. An island surrounded by relatively close located wind farms could enjoy the cost benefits of near-shore wind production thanks to short transmission distances. Furthermore, the island might be used as a joint storage of equipment (like turbines or rotor blades), as a port, a landing ground for airplanes and residency for staff. Sea platforms for converter stations would be unnecessary in this scenario. In addition, the island would not only distribute electricity but could also function as nodal point for electricity highways resulting in a transnational interconnection between national energy markets. TenneT calls this concept the “Wind-connector”.

Confessedly, this is a future vision – but it is as ambitious as it is tempting. TenneT will open the discussion with the EU and member states to detect possibilities of cooperation. Beyond that, TenneT will carry out own studies and examinations regarding technical, infrastructural and geographical aspects of the conception.

> See TenneT press release (html)

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