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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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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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.”

> See TenneT press release (html)

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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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.”

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

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TenneT and Statkraft share wind data

27.03.2017

The Norwegian Statkraft Group is Europe’s major generator of renewable energy. Hence, Statkraft is an ideal partner for TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), to cooperate effectively on the market integration of the renewables. The two companies have agreed to exchange data relating to actual and possible wind power generation.

For the moment, the collaboration is limited to TenneT’s control area in Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern federal state of Germany. Here a considerable amount of wind energy is being produced and wind peak periods often cause bottleneck situations in the grid calling for expensive congestion management measures. Statkraft will provide real-time data from the wind farms thus allowing TenneT to make regional calculations and forecasts on wind feeds, reduce control energy, and improve the congestion management to ensure system security.

Urban Keussen, CEO at TenneT, appraises the cooperation between TenneT and Statkraft “as an important milestone in the digitalisation of the energy industry”. According to Keussen, decentralised and up-to-date data is a significant contribution to “safely and economically operate the transmission grid in respect of a growing share of fluctuating green electricity”. Stefan-Jörg Göbel, Head of Trading & Origination in continental Europe at Statkraft Markets GmbH, complements that “TenneT and Statkraft are pioneering the integration of renewable energies in terms of marketing and grid management.” An extension of the data exchange also to other regions is conceivable in perspective.

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Picture: TenneT

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Kick-off for NordLink

19.09.2016

A major step towards the integration of European energy markets and the successful implementation of the energy transition has been taken in Wilster in the southwest of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. On 16 September 2016, TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), the Norwegian TSO Statnett and the KfW development bank celebrated the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the German converter station for the NordLink submarine cable project. The turn of the sod was followed by a symbolic cable pulling with support from Robert Habeck, Minister of Energy in Schleswig-Holstein, and Elisabeth Walaas, the Norwegian Ambassador in Germany. Many Norwegian and German representatives from politics, business and public life attended the ceremonial event.

The NordLink submarine cable will directly connect the energy markets of Germany and Norway for the first time. Since NordLink is going to couple the capacities of Norwegian hydropower plants with those of wind and solar farms in Germany, it truly deserves the characterisation as “green link” used by Robert Habeck. Lex Hartman, member of the TenneT executive board, considers Norwegian hydropower and German wind and solar power as “two perfectly complementary systems for the exchange of renewable energy”. Ambassador Elisabeth Walaas adds that “NordLink is taking the realisation of the energy transition and the integration of renewable energy to a whole new level.” Besides its significant ecological effects in terms of the reduction of carbon emissions and the achievement of climate goals, NordLink is destined to stabilise energy prices, to increase market efficiency and to ensure supply security in both countries. The European Union has awarded NordLink the status of a “Project of Common Interest”, thus indicating the great economic importance of NordLink for the entire European energy market.

Given Tennet’s present planning, the completion of NordLink is expected in 2020. The direct current connection will have a capacity of 1,400 megawatts for the exchange of renewable energy and a total length of 623km with 516km of submarine cable. The Norwegian counterpart of the Wilster converter station is to be built in Tonstad in Vest-Agder county in the south of Norway. At both stations the direct current will be converted into three-phase electric power and fed into the German and Norwegian transmission grids.

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Picture: TenneT

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Challenges and opportunities in the north

16.08.2016

The Nordic transmission system operators (TSOs), Svenska kraftnät, Statnett, Fingrid and TSC member Energinet.dk issued a report summarising their views on challenges and opportunities affecting the Nordic power system in the years ahead until 2025. “Climate policy, technical developments, and a common European framework for markets, operation and planning” are expected to be the main drivers of change. The four TSOs understand that the changing environment will come along with a higher demand for flexibility. A follow-up report is porjected to be published in the second quarter of 2017.

> See Nordic TSOs’ press release at Energinet.dk website (html)

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