Challenges of the green transition in Denmark

05.11.2020

In Denmark, as in Europe in general, the energy transition presents new and challenging tasks for the players in the energy sector. To improve the information basis and to prepare adequately for these challenges, TSCNET customer Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), has created two reports on long-term development needs in the Danish energy system. There are two reports, as Energinet is not only the national TSO for electricity, but also for gas.

The forecasts in “Long-term Development Needs in the Power Grid” are similar to those of other European TSOs and allow similar conclusions. Not surprisingly, Denmark, as a world leader in renewable energy, needs to make even greater efforts to integrate these amounts of energy from renewable sources. In concrete terms, the TSO expects that by 2040 the maximum generation of wind turbines and solar cells could increase from 7.4GW today to perhaps 26GW. Such a tripling or quadrupling will cause problems for the current high-voltage grid, which is not designed to transmit such large amounts of energy.

Some challenges may not be due for 10-20 years, but others are already on the doorstep. In some places in Denmark, large-scale local production from wind and solar energy is already putting a considerable strain on the power grid. Hanne Storm Edlefsen, Head of the Strategic Planning division in Energinet Elsystemansvar, the TSO’s electricity system operator branch, emphasises the need for cooperation at all economic, political, and social levels to make the green transition a success and, for example, to ensure that “a doubling of electricity demand does not mean twice as many power pylons and overhead lines”.

The analyses show, among other things, the locations in Denmark where high-voltage grid extensions are required, either as underground cables or overhead lines. However, Edlefsen also points to other solution approaches beyond mere expansion: The proper placement of wind farms or large photovoltaic systems can reduce the need for grid reinforcement. And electrolysis plants of the future, which convert green electricity into hydrogen and other green fuels, could be located close to major green generation units so that electricity need not be transported across the country.

Energinet has presented two reports on the Danish long-term development needs in the power grid and in the gas system (picture: Energinet)

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> See Energinet press release (html)
>Open report on needs in the power grid (pdf, 7.42MB)

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TenneT records 21% increase in offshore transmission

28.07.2020

In the first half of 2020, the wind energy transmitted from the North Sea ashore by the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT rose to 11.51TWh. This represents an increase of 21.1% compared with the 9.51TWh in the first half of 2019, bringing the North Sea’s share of total wind power generation in Germany to 15.6%. The maximum feed-in volume from offshore wind farms in the German North Sea was 6,035MW on 2 January 2020. By 30 June, the generation capacity of the German North Sea wind farms reached 6,679MW, a volume which is exceeded by TenneT’s offshore transmission capacity of 7,132MW. This amount, which is higher than the German government’s 2020 target (6.5GW for the North and Baltic Seas combined), is currently being achieved with twelve German offshore grid connections.

Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of the TSCNET shareholder, comments on the impressive figures: „The expansion and integration of offshore wind energy is of central importance for the European energy transition.” And offshore development is also keeping pace in the Dutch market: “With Borssele alpha and – from mid-August – Borssele beta, we have now also successfully completed the first two offshore connections in the Dutch North Sea.” TenneT promotes capacity expansion with technical innovations and, according to Meyerjürgens, wants to remain a driving force in the offshore sector: “Ever since TenneT set the standard for plastic-insulated DC cables at 320kV in the offshore sector around ten years ago, we have been defining a new global benchmark for the future with our 525kV DC subsea cable system and its transmission capacity of two GW.”

The 525kV development programme should lead to a standardised cable system that the TSO can employ by 2030 for the three German North Sea projects BalWin1, BalWin2, BalWin3 and the two Dutch projects IJmuiden Ver alpha and beta as well as in potential further projects of equal power and voltage. TenneT is expecting lower costs, greater security of supply and less impact on the environment. These efforts require considerable investment: “We have an investment programme of around €20bn earmarked for connecting offshore wind energy in the Netherlands and Germany by 2030,” explains Meyerjürgens. Important in this context are also hydrogen and hybrid initiatives. The North Sea Wind Power Hubs proposed by TenneT explicitly include power to gas concepts. Furthermore, in June, TenneT proposed to the EU and the Dutch and German governments an integrated energy system approach for the international offshore development.

TenneT increased its transmission of offshore wind energy by 21% in the first half of 2020 (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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TenneT creates, invests and researches for the energy future

12.03.2020

Promoting the energy transition is a priority objective of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). This is clearly reflected in the TSO’s just-published Integrated Annual Report. As in recent years, the Annual Report is accompanied by the Green Finance Report 2019.

In line with the energy policy and climate goals of the Netherlands and Germany, TenneT increased its investments yet again in 2019 and spent €3.1bn on the energy transition and supply security (grid availability of 99.9998% in 2019). This financial commitment is even to be stepped up: TenneT is planning annual investments of €4bn to €5bn for the future. The financial performance of the company, with revenues of €4.1bn in 2019 and an EBIT (excluding special effects) of €753m, supports these ambitious plans. Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, has every reason to be content with the sound development of the TSO: “We have made great strides again in pursuing our ambition to achieve a sustainable energy future for everyone. Not only in realising and developing new onshore and offshore connections, but also by the required far-reaching international cooperation and working on innovations in close coordination with relevant stakeholders.”

As regards offshore connections, TenneT has already exceeded in 2019 the German government’s expansion target for offshore wind power capacity in the North and Baltic Sea, which is 6.5GW for 2020. With last year’s commissioning of BorWin 3, TenneT’s ninth offshore grid connection system in DC technology, the TSO now has a total of twelve offshore grid connections in operation (nine in DC and three in AC technology) with a total capacity of 7.1GW. But TenneT is not resting on its successes to date: The connection systems DolWin5, DolWin6, and BorWin5 are being developed and will increase the offshore transmission capacity provided by TenneT for wind farms in the German North Sea to almost 10GW by 2025. In addition, Borssele Alpha, TenneT’s first offshore connection system in AC technology in the Dutch North Sea, was installed on schedule and is now ready for operation. Borssele Beta will be completed in 2020.

Onshore, TenneT has eight transmission lines under construction in Germany, more than ever before. In the Netherlands, the 60km-long Randstad 380kV North Ring power line was put into operation, reliably supplying Europe’s most densely populated area with electricity and providing transmission capacity for green energy. At European level, the “green” COBRAcable deserves special mention, which since 2019 directly connects the Dutch and Danish markets for the first time. The German and Norwegian markets will also be directly connected by the NordLink cable, which is currently under construction. On top of this, a proof-of-concept for the North Sea Wind Power Hub has shown the technical feasibility of the concept of multiple wind power distribution hubs in the North Sea.

All these grid expansion projects are complemented by innovative solutions and intensive research to better utilise TenneT’s existing transmission system. These include vehicle-to-grid pilots, the deployment of home storage systems in grid stabilisation and digital solutions for higher grid utilisation. Another long-term innovation project is Element One, a 100MW electrolysis plant to be built in Germany to promote an integrated energy system.

TenneT presents Integrated Annual Report 2019 and Green Finance Report 2019 (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit Integrated Annual Report 2019 site (html)
> Direct access to the report download (html)
> Open Green Finance Report 2019 (pdf, 802.38kB)

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50Hertz and TenneT awarded for PtG projects

26.07.2019

Last week, Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, announced the winners of the ideas competition “Reallabore der Energiewende” (“Real Laboratories of the Energy Transition), which aims to promote promising energy technologies of the future, especially in the field of hydrogen technology. The winners include the two TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from north-east Germany, and Tennet, the Dutch-German TSO, as they are both involved in award winning projects.

Tennet is cooperating with Gasunie and Thyssengas for ELEMENT ONE, a power-to-gas (PtG) plant to be built in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, which will be capable of converting up to 100MW of electrical power into gas. ELEMENT ONE is in the planning phase, but the project partners are confident that the results of the project will provide crucial information on electricity and gas grid integration, the development of operator models and the regulatory environment. With their approach, they aim to accelerate the urgently needed transfer of technology and innovation from research to practice in the field of sector coupling and hydrogen technology.

Key technologies of energy supply
50Hertz is involved as associated partner in two winning PtG projects: “GreenHydroChem Mitteldeutsches Chemiedreieck“ in Saxony-Anhalt, and “Reflau – Referenzkraftwerk Lausitz“ in Brandenburg. These two projects also focus on sector coupling and hydrogen technology. The partners for GreenHydroChem are Siemens, Linde, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS). With a 50MW electrolyser, regeneratively generated electricity is first to be converted into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then converted in refineries into base chemicals and methanol, which can be blended with conventional fuels for the use in the transport sector. With Reflau, the partners want to combine and test in practice key technologies of energy supply with renewable energies and hydrogen as a chemical storage.

Dr. Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz, welcomes the support for innovative technologies: “With our involvement in the laboratories, we are specifically promoting the development of Power-to-X technologies for the energy market. Because if things get serious in a few years’ time, we will need proven and grid-compatible experience with this new technology.”

50Hertz and TenneT are among the winners of the German “Reallabore der Energiewende” competition for the promotion of innovative energy technologies (picture: Fraunhofer IMWS / Sven Döring)

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> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Wind power hub promotes climate goals

10.07.2019

It’s only been a good three years since TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), first presented the concept of a North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) to the public. From then on, the vision has taken concrete shape and the hub consortium has been consistently expanded, now including further TSCNET shareholder Energinet from Denmark, the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch natural gas company Gasunie, as power-to-gas applications are an important component of the concept.

In future years, when large wind regions in the North Sea are defined for development, it will be possible to implement several hubs to support the energy transmission infrastructure. These NSWPHs will then combine generation, storage and transmission of wind energy with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states and thus promote the large-scale implementation and integration of offshore wind energy. The NSWPH partners have now presented the results of the project assessment phase. In recent months, they not only analysed options for the construction of wind farms in the North Sea, but also conducted a large number of studies, examined various scenarios and held intensive discussions with policy makers, leading offshore developers and non-governmental organisations.

The studies and investigations have confirmed the technical and economic feasibility of the hub concept. Furthermore, they have shown that large offshore wind capacities must be developed in the North Sea in order to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Convention in due time. The targeted capacities range from 70 to 150GW by 2040 and up to 180GW by 2045. Depending on the scope of development, the NSWPH could lay the foundation to supply hundreds of millions of Europeans with green electricity. To take the concept forward, the Danish, Dutch and German governments as well as the European Commission are invited by the NSWPH consortium to consider setting up a consultation.

Studies confirm the climate benefits of the North Sea Wind Power Hub concept (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

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Investing for the energy future

27.06.2019

TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), presents its Annual Report 2018 on a specially designed website. What, from a TSO’s perspective, is most necessary for the successful energy transition in Germany – the sustainable expansion of the transmission system so that green electricity can be provided nationwide – is clearly reflected in Amprion’s figures for 2018: Amprion further increased its investments in grid extension, which amounted to €763m in 2018 and were 8.5% higher than in the previous year.

However, it is not sufficient for TSOs alone to fulfil their role, especially as grid extension needs to be accelerated significantly to keep pace with the expansion of the renewables. Politics must also help by setting the right course to promote the cross-sector transformation of the energy system. Amprion therefore calls for a national master plan for electricity and gas. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, explains: “It is not enough just to connect renewable energies to the grid. From our system responsibility, we have the task of integrating them into the energy system.” This requires innovative concepts and technologies such as power-to-gas.

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Brick, Chief Commercial Officer and CFO of Amprion, adds at the company’s annual press conference in the German capital of Berlin, that the expansion of the electricity system as outlined in the German Network Development Plan remains the indispensable basis for achieving the climate targets and the secure and cost-effective power supply of the German conurbations. “Amprion is thus investing more than €9.3bn in its grid over the next ten years.”

Amprion presents Annual Report 2018 (picture: Amprion)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> Visit Annual Report 2018 site, in German (html, with download options)

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Energinet explores PtG potentials

22.05.2019

The generation of renewable energy is volatile and the storage of green electricity at times when production exceeds consumption is an ever-increasing challenge for energy market participants. Power to gas (PtG) technologies appear to be particularly effective in compensating for the weather-related volatility of the renewables. Since TSCNET shareholder Energinet is not only the Danish transmission system operator (TSO) for electricity, but also for gas, the company is ideally suited to profoundly evaluate the PtG potential. The Danish national energy goal is a 100% climate-neutral energy system by 2050, and PtG can play an important role in achieving it.

Energinet’s gas grid could be an essential tool for the transmission of solar and wind energy in Denmark’s energy system of the future, as the energy can be stored and transported in the gas pipelines with hydrogen as the energy carrier. To this end, the electricity is converted into hydrogen, which can then be mixed with natural gas. The TSO is currently testing how much hydrogen the gas grid can handle. The tests take place near the West Jutland town of Varde and are part of the “Hydrogen Injection in the Gas Grid” project, in which Energinet is cooperating with the Danish Gas Technology Centre and IRD Fuel Cells.

The gas in the pipelines near Varde is presently mixed with 12% hydrogen, the research target is 15%. At the beginning of the tests in summer 2017, it was only 2%, so the results are promising. „Using hydrogen as an energy carrier allows us to connect the electricity and gas sectors,“ explains Jesper Bruun, project manager at Energinet, and adds: „Once we are able to handle the hydrogen in the gas grid, we will have an extensive and efficient infrastructure in place for transport and storage.“

Energinet is exploring PtG technologies (picture: Energinet)

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> See Energinet press release (html)

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Map of German PtG plants

25.04.2019

With Power-to-Gas (PtG) technologies, sustainable electricity can be converted into gas and then stored in the existing gas infrastructure, transported and provided as needed – independent of the natural volatility of wind and solar energy. Forecasts up to 2050 indicate that comprehensive and effective climate protection is not possible without PtG. The “Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches” (German Association of the Gas and Water Sector – DVGW), an independent technical-scientific network for all questions related to gas and water supply, has published an updated map giving an overview of all PtG projects in Germany, including both completed and planned facilities.

The DGWV map shows that the number of PtG plants in Germany as well as their installed capacity is constantly increasing compared to previous statistics. 35 PtG plants are currently in operation with a total capacity of around 30MW. However, most of them are pilot or demonstration projects on a small scale and serve research purposes. Industrial-scale plants are still the exception, also for the 16 projects in planning.

Nevertheless, total PtG capacity will increase significantly in the future (estimated at 273MW), mainly due to two 100MW projects being implemented by two TSCNET shareholders: Amprion, one the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT are pursuing the two most powerful sector coupling projects currently underway in Germany: “hybridge” and “ELEMENT ONE” which are planned at two different sites in the German federal state of Lower Saxony. According to current planning, “ELEMENT ONE” will be gradually operational by 2022 and “hybridge” will be fully operational by 2023.

The German gas and water sector association DVGW has published an upgraded map of PtG facilities in Germany (picture: edited screenshot of video “Power to Gas” by Thyssengas)

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> See DVGW press release, in German (html)
> Open PtG Plant Map, in German (pdf, 752kb)
> Visit hybridge website, in German (html)
> Visit ELEMENT ONE website, in German (html)

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PtG pilot plants on an industrial scale

29.03.2019

Power-to-Gas (PtG) technologies have the potential to compensate for the weather-related volatility of renewable energies. More specifically, PtG can be used to convert sustainable electricity into gas (green hydrogen or methane), so that the gas infrastructure is additionally available for the transport and storage of electricity from renewable sources. The TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, are taking the next important step towards implementing the two most powerful sector coupling projects currently underway in Germany: “hybridge” and “ELEMENT ONE”.

The respective gas transmission partners of Amprion and TenneT are Open Grid Europe for the “hybridge” project and Gasunie and Thyssengas for ELEMENT ONE. Both PTG plants are to convert up to 100MW of electrical power into gas. Their construction is planned at two different sites in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, each close to wind power generation centres and well-developed gas infrastructure.

The grid operators have submitted the necessary investment applications for both projects on 29 March to the Bundesnetzagentur (German Federal Network Agency). If the Agency gives the green light, ELEMENT ONE will be gradually operational by 2022 and hybridge will be fully functional by 2023. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, comments on the application, that major PtG projects must now be pushed forward, “if we want to use PtG technology on a large scale in Germany in the 2030s”.

Amprion and TenneT have submitted investment applications for their respective PtG pilot plants hybridge and ELEMENT ONE (picture: Open Grid Europe GmbH)

Linkup
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Visit hybridge website, in German (html)
> Visit ELEMENT ONE website, in German (html)

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Royal interest in the Wind Power Hub

07.03.2019

TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), had the honour of hosting high-ranking visitors. During the German-Dutch trade delegation meeting on 6 March 2019 in the German North Sea port of Bremerhaven, Manon van Beek, CEO of the TSCNET shareholder, presented the vision and current plans for the North Sea Wind Power Hub in attendance of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub concept combines wind energy production, storage, and transmission with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states. In addition to TenneT, the international hub consortium includes the Danish TSO Energinet, another TSCNET shareholder, the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch natural gas company Gasunie. Hence, power-to-gas technologies are also involved in the hub concept. A transnational transmission grid, controlled through a distribution hub in the North Sea and enabling the feed-in and distribution of vast quantities of offshore wind energy, would strengthen the whole European energy market and increase the security of supply across the continent.

The Dutch royal couple took great interest in the virtual and interactive model of the hub concept showcased at the meeting. Manon van Beek was most appreciative of this aristocratic concern: “We are especially pleased and honoured by the interest of the royal couple in the energy hub.” The TenneT CEO considers the Power Hub to be a valuable instrument in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. In this regard, the royal visit was beneficial because the realisation of a low-carbon energy future “requires international cooperation and coordination, political momentum and courage and the support of non-governmental organisations”, van Beek concluded.

TenneT has presented the North Sea Wind Power Hub in the presence of the Dutch royal couple (picture: TenneT)

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

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