GIS with Clean Air technology for Daxlanden

14.11.2019

In present-day gas-insulated high-voltage systems, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is commonly used as insulating gas. It has excellent electrical and chemical properties, but also a strong greenhouse effect. For reasons of climate protection, TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), focuses on eco-efficient technical concepts. In November last year, the TSCNET shareholder launched a pilot project at its substation in Obermooweiler, northeast of Lake Constance, with the world’s first gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) at extra-high voltage level using a climate-friendly alternative gas technology.

TransnetBW has now commissioned the new construction of the switchgear for the 380kV substation in Daxlanden near Karlsruhe, where the existing open-air facility will be replaced by two new GIS. Here, the TSO has opted for the so-called Clean Air technology, which exclusively uses processed air as an insulating medium instead of SF6. This significantly reduces the greenhouse effect of the entire switchgear system. The new GIS facilities will be built and commissioned gradually over the next few years and the existing open-air installation will be dismantled during ongoing operation.

The Daxlanden substation is an important network node in TransnetBW’s transmission grid and the central link between two grid construction projects from the German national Grid Development Plan for electricity (NEP), which contains essential grid extension projects to realise the energy transition. “A successful energy transition requires an efficient and future-proof transmission grid,” explains Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board. “The more we are pleased to be able to make an additional contribution to the environment and climate protection by using the innovative Clean Air technology in Daxlanden.”

TransnetBW will build two GIS with Clean Air technology in the substation Daxlanden (computer simulation of the reconstructed Daxlanden substation: TransnetBW)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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New Amprion phase shifter in operation

06.11.2019

The German transmission system operators (TSOs) have to react with innovative technology to the changes in the German energy landscape caused by the shutdown of nuclear and other large power plants in the course of the energy transition. An important issue is the loss of reactive power, and an appropriate technological response are rotating phase shifters, which are highly efficient and flexible in the provision of reactive power to maintain voltage.

TSCNET shareholder Amprion has now commissioned such a high-performance system at its Illingen-Uchtelfangen substation in the German federal state of Saarland. It is the second rotating phase shifter in the Amprion grid after the TSO commissioned the first one in September 2018 in Oberottmarshausen (Bavarian Swabia). Amprion has invested €60m in the new state-of-the-art equipment, which keeps the transmission grid stable and thus further increases supply security in Saarland.

The commissioning ceremony was attended by Anke Rehlinger, Saarland Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour, Energy and Transport. Together with Amprion Managing Director Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, General Manager of GE Grid Solutions Gerhard Seyrling and representatives of district and municipal politics, she pressed the “red button”, which symbolically put the facility into operation. Mrs Rehlinger commented on the new device: “Against the backdrop of the energy transition, grid stability and security of supply are becoming increasingly important. With the installation of the rotating phase shifter, Amprion is making an important contribution to the future of power transmission grids.”

Amprion has commissioned a new rotating phase shifter at the Illingen-Uchtelfangen substation (picture: Amprion;  Amprion CTO Klaus Kleinekorte and Saarland Minister Anke Rehlinger in the middle)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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Two transformers reach Garenfeld

05.11.2019

The last weekend was literally “heavy” for TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Not one but two 276-tonne transformers were transported to Amprion’s Garenfeld substation in Hagen in North Rhine-Westphalia. It took both days of the weekend for the 30 kilometre stretch from the railway station to the substation. The special road transport units each had a total length of around 80 metres and together with the transformer each weighed 519 tonnes.

About 40 employees from various companies were involved in the transport during the two nights. At the end of August, the first of a total of five transformers had already been delivered to the substation. Amprion is currently planning to move the last two transformers to Garenfeld at the end of November.

Two transformers have been delivered to the Garenfeld substation operated by Amprion (picture: Amprion)

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> See last week’s announcement press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion tweet, in German (html)

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Ernen-Ulrichen 380kV line in operation

21.10.2019

With the erection of the last of a total of 57 pylons, the new extra-high voltage line between the Ernen and Ulrichen substations in the Swiss canton of Valais has now been completed. The 30-kilometre section is part of the 380kV Mörel-Ulrichen line project of TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO). The line upgrade in the Rhône Valley is vital for the future of Switzerland’s energy supply: In order to fully transfer the hydropower generated in the Valais to the urban areas of Switzerland, the lines of the south-western canton must be connected to the supra-regional 380kV transmission grid, particularly in view of the commissioning of the new Nant de Drance pumped storage power station, scheduled for 2020.

The existing 220kV overhead line between Ernen and Ulrichen is already disconnected. Its 177 pylons will be dismantled from spring 2020 and the former pylon locations will be recultivated. Swissgrid is additionally carrying out nature conservation projects of national importance in the vicinity of the new line. Also starting next year, the Swiss TSO will continue its Valais upgrade project with the new construction of the next section between Ernen and Mörel-Filet, which is expected to be commissioned as 380kV line by the end of 2022.

Swissgrid has commissioned the new 380kV line between Ernen-Ulrichen (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid news release, in German (html)

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Delay for the Bassecourt-Mühleberg line upgrade

07.10.2019

With the decommissioning of the Mühleberg nuclear power plant in the canton of Bern at the end of 2019, part of Switzerland’s energy production in the central Swiss Plateau will cease. In the medium term, this shortage will have to be offset by higher production from Swiss power plants or by energy imports from abroad. This is particularly important in winter, when Switzerland is dependent on additional energy imports.

TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), is therefore upgrading the Bassecourt-Mühleberg power line from 220kV to 380kV and equipping the Mühleberg substation with a new 380/220kV transformer to ensure security of supply in the greater Bern area and the entire central region of the Swiss Plateau. The modernisation of the line will require adjustments to 54 of a total of 142 existing pylons and will not affect the landscape. Both upgrade measures are part of the “Strategic Grid 2025”, Swissgrid’s ambitious grid modernisation and expansion plan.

While the installation work for the new transformer in Mühleberg continues, a delay of two years in the voltage increase of the Bassecourt-Mühleberg line is expected due to legal complaints against the line upgrade. In August, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy approved the line upgrade and rejected the objections, which mainly concerned the exposure to magnetic fields and noise or the need to relocate the line or to use underground cables. Various complainants have now appealed against this decision of the Federal Office to the Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland, thus preventing further progress.

The upgrading of the Bassecourt-Mühleberg power line by Swissgrid will be delayed (picture: Swissgrid)

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> See Swissgrid media release (html)

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Reconstruction start at TransnetBW substation

18.09.2019

On September 18, TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), started the conversion of its substation in Schwörstadt with a symbolic cut of the spade. The construction site is located in the furthest southwest of the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg near the Swiss border. The upgrade provides the technical basis for connecting the substation to the 380kV extra-high voltage grid.

Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, referred at the groundbreaking ceremony to the steadily increasing share of renewables in the electricity mix, which confronts TSOs with maintaining voltage at a stable level despite the changing wind and weather conditions. “We are preparing the substation for the requirements of the energy transition and thus are also strengthening supply security in the Upper Rhine region.”

The reconstruction of the substation’s switchgear will be carried out in two stages, starting with the dismantling of the operations building and the switch panels of the existing 220kV switchgear. By 2021, the new 380kV switchgear will have been installed. The new device will initially be operated at 220kV before being connected to the 380kV grid in 2023. This implies that at the same time and section by section, the corresponding power lines will also be upgraded to 380kV.

TransnetBW starts conversion of the Schwörstadt substation (picture: TransnetBW; from left to right: Olaf Jungnitsch of GE Grid; Uli Glich, Project Manager Substations at TransnetBW; Christine Trautwein-Domschat, Mayor of Schwörstadt; Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board; Thorsten Schwarz, Managing Director GE Grid; Bernd Jauch, Head of Technology, Projects and Portfolio Management at TransnetBW)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

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ČEPS half-year report: Profits support infrastructure

16.09.2019

In 2019, the Czech transmission system operator (TSO) ČEPS continues its extensive infrastructure investment programme to ensure that the development of the Czech transmission system meets the increasing demands of the rapidly changing energy sector. The profits now presented in the company’s half-year report facilitate these efforts considerably.

The TSCNET shareholder concluded the first half of 2019 with a pre-tax profit of CZK 2.3bn (about €88.84m) and a total revenue of CZK 11,903bn (about €460m), an increase of CZK 1,54bn in comparison to the same period in 2018. “Cross-border auctions account for 38% of revenues,” explains Martin Durčák, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČEPS. As far as the TSO core business is concerned, a total of 32,760GWh was transferred in the first half of 2019.

An important infrastructure project completed in July 2019 is the connection of the Řeporyje-Prosenice line to the Mírovka substation. The branching of this almost 300km long line, which connects the periphery of Prague with the Olomouc region in the east of the country, will increase the safety and reliability of the Czech transmission grid. Other significant investment measures already implemented this year include the construction of the new Přeštice-Vítkov line linking the Plzeň to the Moravian-Silesian Region. In Vítkov, a new 420kV substation with a gas-insulated switchgear was installed to complement the new line construction.

ČEPS reports positive figures for the first half of the 2019 business year (picture showing Prague, Czechia: JÉSHOOTS)

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> See ČEPS press release (html)

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Amprion commissions state-of-the-art technology

01.09.2019

The Kriftel substation between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden in the German federal state of Hesse controls power distribution for the greater Frankfurt area with its almost six million inhabitants. The station is operated by TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), which has been expanding and modernising it since 2016 and has invested a total of around €34m. During a ceremony held on 30 August with representatives of state and local politics, the new, state-of-the-art equipment in Kriftel was put into operation.

Amprion’s substation not only secures the power supply in the northwestern Rhine-Main area but will now also play an important role in providing reactive power. The installation of the relevant technology in Kriftel became necessary due to the changes in power generation and feed-in in Germany. The declining reactive power capacities of large power plants, which are now being successively taken off the grid in the course of the energy transition, must be compensated by the national TSOs to keep the reactive power in balance with the active power and thus keep the grid voltage at the required level.

The hybrid reactive power compensation system installed in Kriftel is the most powerful of its kind in the German grid. It consists of two units: a static synchronous compensator system (Statcom) and a mechanical switched capacitor with damping network (MSCDN). Depending on requirements, they can raise or lower and secure the voltage in the grid. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, explained the importance of the new system technology: “By optimising the switching of many electronic modules, the new hybrid system in Kriftel will help to keep the voltage level in the grid stable and thus continue to guarantee a high level of supply security in the region.”

Amprion commissions the modernised Kriftel substation (picture of a Statcom system as installed in Kriftel: Siemens)

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> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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Fauna-friendly extension of Amprion substations

25.07.2019

TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), is expanding its Siegburg substation in North Rhine-Westphalia, near the former seat of the West German government in Bonn. The planning is progressing well: By 2023, the existing 220/110kV substation is to be integrated into the 380kV grid. To this end, the current installations will be extended by a 380/220kV transformer and a gas-insulated switchgear at the 380kV voltage level. A new overhead line will connect the station to Amprion’s supra-regional transmission system.

But there is more to be told from Siegburg, as the substation provides a home for seven bee colonies. In May, further TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, reported on a pilot project on eco-friendly substation maintenance, and now Amprion also informs about new steps in this field: Around 350,000 bees of the Buckfast and the Carniolan breeds live in a specially fenced area and bring the nectar gathered on their flights back to the hives at the station. “We are very happy about our new neighbours,” says Klaus Breitbach, operations manager of the substation. “We hope that our new neighbours will thank us for the good location with one or the other glass of honey”.

News is also coming from the Bischoffsheim substation in the Rhine-Main Area. Here, too, Amprion is working on the grid of the future: To ensure security of supply for the region and the state capitals of Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate) and Wiesbaden (Hesse), the TSO is expanding and modernising the existing 380kv system with a transformer and switch panels. On 27 July, Amprion expects the delivery of the 350MVA transformer. First, the transformer with a weight of around 350 tonnes is being transported by rail. The last 560 meters on the road will be taken over by a heavy haulage tractor unit with a length of 78 meters and two times twelve axles. The total weight of the transport unit is 574 tonnes.

Bees at Amprion substation

Amprion welcomes bee colonies to the Siegburg substation and is expecting a new transformer at the Bischoffsheim substation (picture: Amprion)

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> See Amprion press release on the Siegburg substation, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release on the Bischofsheim substation, in German (html)

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Ultranet progresses

17.05.2019

The Ultranet substation on the grounds of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant (which will be completely shut down by 31 December 2019) in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg is to become one of the most significant power hubs in Germany’s future energy landscape. Here, the supra-regional DC line Ultranet will be connected to the regional 380kV grid of TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). Ultranet will transfer wind energy generated in the northwest of the country to the industrially highly developed southwest. The European Project of Common Interest (PCI) is jointly carried out by TransnetBW and further TSCNET shareholder Amprion.

Last July, construction work began in Philippsburg with the groundbreaking ceremony for a new gas-insulated switchgear. Now the work on the new DC substation is being initiated, as TransnetBW officially started the filling of the construction site with a symbolic first excavator operation on 16 May. “This is a special day for the ULTRANET DC project and for the energy transition,” declared Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, to around 50 invited representatives from politics, business and society. Dr. Götz continued that now a “visible sign for the progress of the project and our aim to bring renewable electricity to Philippsburg and the region” had been set.

In the meantime, the project partner Amprion has also made progress for Ultranet, albeit in a different domain: In keeping with the motto that it is better to talk to each other than about each other, the TSO on 15 and 16 May has invited municipalities, specialist authorities and citizens’ initiatives to exchange information on the Ultranet planning status in the Rheingau-Taunus and Main-Taunus districts. A first public participation procedure had earlier led to 15 alternative routes in the respective districts, which Amprion examined in more detail. Based on the additional expert exchange, Amprion wants to better integrate the local knowledge and expertise of the participants for the comparison of variants and their environmental impacts.

TransnetBW has started preparing the construction site for the Ultranet substation in Philippsburg (picture: TransnetBW)

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> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)

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