Official opening of substation in Ticino

01.10.2018

The commissioning of the modernised Avegno substation in the district of Vallemaggia in the Swiss canton of Ticino is a landmark achievement for TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO): “Since Swissgrid took over the Swiss transmission grid in 2013, it has been the first substation project to be fully implemented by the national grid company,” explains Maurice Dierick, Head of Grid at Swissgrid.

The Avegno substation is an important hub of the Swiss transmission network, both regionally and nationally. In addition, it connects the Verbano hydropower plant to the national extra-high voltage grid. Construction work at Avegno began in October 2016 and will be completed by the end of November with the dismantling of the old 220kV open air switchgear. Already in April 2018, the new gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) was connected to the grid. All in all, Swissgrid has invested CHF17m (almost €15m) in the modernisation of Avegno.

Swissgrid has opened the new Avegno substation, equipped with a gas-insulated switchgear (picture: Swissgrid)

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Transformer transport to Hardegsen substation

30.09.2018

The Hardegsen substation operated by TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is one of the central power hubs in the southern part of the German federal state of Lower Saxony. But the substation is also of supra-regional importance, as it will serve to connect the Wahle-Mecklar line currently under construction with the local distribution grids.

With a total length of 230 kilometres, the 380kV line from Wahle in Lower Saxony to Mecklar in the state of Hesse is one of the largest power line projects in Germany and belongs to those construction schemes that are essential for increasing the capacity to transmit green electricity from the main generation sites in the north to the consumption centres in the south of the country.

To meet regional and supra-regional uses, the 220kV station will be prepared for 380kV operation and equipped with a total of three transformers capable of spanning between the 380kV and 110kV levels and also between 220kV and 110kV. From 2 to 3 October 2018, the second 287-tonne transformer will be delivered to Hardegsen with a heavy-duty road transportation unit of around 53 metres in length and a total weight of 491 tonnes. The subsequent assembly of the 300MVA transformer at the substation is expected to take three months.

TenneT is supplied with the second of a total of three new transformers for the Hardegsen substation in Lower Saxony (picture: TenneT)

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Commissioning of phase-shifter at Amprion substation

12.09.2018

The four German transmission system operators (TSOs) must react sustainably and future-oriented to the changes in the German energy landscape caused by the shutdown of nuclear and other large-scale power plants in the course of the energy transition. A major issue in this respect is the loss of reactive power and an appropriate technological response is provided by phase-shifters. Rotating phase-shifters are highly efficient and flexible reactive power systems for voltage maintenance to compensate the declining reactive power capacities from large plants.

For this reason, TSCNET shareholder Amprion has equipped its Oberottmarshausen substation with a new controllable rotating phase-shifter and the associated transformer. The substation near Augsburg is an important interface between the transnational 380kV grid and the regional grids. Amprion has been modernising the facility since 2016, and the new, state-of-the-art equipment is the centrepiece of the upgraded substation. The work was carried out in stages during ongoing operation and will be completed this year. Amprion is investing a total of around €65m in the expansion and modernisation of Oberottmarshausen.

On 11 September, Dr. Ulrike Wolf, Deputy Head of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology, Ralf Christian, CEO Division Energy Management at Siemens, and Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, jointly pressed the symbolic button for the official commissioning of the phase-shifter. Mr Kleinekorte explains the importance of the phase-shifter, that enables Amprion to precisely regulate the voltage in its own transmission system as well as in the subordinate distribution grids. “Voltage maintenance is an important element of grid stability, which we continue to guarantee for the citizens and the economy of Bavarian Swabia and in our entire network area.”

From left to right: Ralf Christian, CEO Division Energy Management at Siemens, MDirig. Dr. Ulrike Wolf, Deputy Head of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology, and Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion (picture: Amprion)

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Second transformer for Pleinting substation

05.08.2018

The substation in Pleinting near Vilshofen is one of the central hubs of the Lower Bavarian power supply, for which TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is responsible. Also in terms of the energy transition and cross-border electricity exchange, the substation close to the Austro-German border is significant. This applies in particular to the transmission of surplus electricity from Lower Bavarian solar power generation and for the connection of Austrian pump storage power plants to the German grid.

A total of three new transformers will be installed in Pleinting, the first of which was delivered already in February 2017. The second transformer, manufactured in the Dutch town of Nijmegen, now has arrived at a nearby train station. On 6 August, the 286-tonne transformer will be delivered to the substation with a heavy-duty road transportation unit of around 45 meters in length and a total weight of 500 tonnes. The following assembly work at the substation will probably take three months.

After commissioning, the transformer will have an operating weight of 417 tonnes. It also offers an extended scope of possible applications, as it can be switched over on the high-voltage side. This means that the transformer works between the 380kV and 110kV voltage levels as well as between 220kV and 110kV. Thus it can immediately be integrated into the existing 220kV systems of the Pleinting-Pirach power line. After the completion of the planned 380kV Pleinting-Pirach line, the transformer will subsequently supply the region on this higher voltage level. By 2020, all modernisation and extension works in an around Pleinting are expected to be completed.

TSCNET shareholder TenneT is supplied with the second of a total of three new transformers for the Pleinting substation (picture of a previous transformer transport: TenneT / Screenshot taken from video “TenneT Trafo Schwertransport”, YouTube)

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Groundbreaking ceremony at Ultranet substation

02.07.2018

In June 2017, TSCNET shareholder TransnetBW, one of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), applied for building permit for a new gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) at its substation on the grounds of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. One year later, the TSO has celebrated the start of construction with a symbolic turning of the first sod. The GIS replaces the existing open-air switchgear. One of the reasons why it is the technology of choice, is the system’s little space requirement ‒ it takes up only a fifth of the area of the open-air switchgear.

In Philippsburg, the supra-regional DC line Ultranet will be connected to TransnetBW’s regional 380kV grid. This makes the substation one of the most significant power hubs in Germany’s future energy landscape. Ultranet is a joint venture of TransnetBW and further TSCNET shareholder Amprion and destined to transfer renewable (primarily wind) energy from the northwest of the country to the industrially highly developed southwest. The GIS complements the new Ultranet converter, which is also to be built on the plant site. This device will convert the Ultranet DC into AC, which will then be fed into the transmission system by the GIS.

Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, referred to the Philippsburg upgrade as “central component” of the supply security in times of the energy transition. The reconstruction measures will “ensure that the electricity generated in the north reaches the local consumers safely”. According to the current state of planning, the GIS will be commissioned in 2021.

Picture by TransnetBW (from left to right: Norman Weber, Subproject Manager Ultranet at TransnetBW, Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, Stefan Martus, Mayor of Philippsburg, Dr. Martin Schumacher, Boardmember ABB AG, Joachim Schneider, Head of District Adminstration Karlsruhe, Klaus Kaufmann, Project Manager ABB)

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Substation upgrade in the Swiss Espace Mittelland

16.05.2018

The Innertkirchen substation in the Swiss canton of Bern is an important hub of the national transmission system. As the old 220kV open air switchgear at Innertkirchen is somewhat outdated, TSCNET shareholder Swissgrid, the Swiss transmission system operator (TSO), replaces it with a 380kV gas-insulated switchgear (GIS). The substation modernisation is not only important for the regional long-term security of electricity supply, but also for ensuring the transmission of green energy from hydropower plants in the cantons of Bern and Valais to the centres of the Mittelland.

The conversion work started with a symbolic turn of the sod on 15 May. Since the building for the new GIS will be erected next to the existing outdoor switchgear, the operation of the substation can be fully maintained during the construction period. Investments for the entire project amount to around CHF33m, and commissioning of the new facility is scheduled for mid-2021.

> See Swissgrid media release, in German (html)

Picture: Swissgrid

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Carinthian transformer connected to the grid

27.04.2018

The substation in Obersielach in the southernmost Austrian state of Carinthia is an essential component of the nationwide modernisation process, with which TSCNET shareholder APG, the Austrian transmission system operator (TSO), adapts its grid to the high requirements of a sustainable energy future. Last September, a large additional 380/220kV transformer was delivered to Obersielach ‒ due to its heavy weight in three parts – and then it took six months of installation work and extensive functional testing, before the new device could finally be connected to the grid on 26 April 2018. Further upgrade measures at the substation are still pending and completion is scheduled for autumn 2019. Overall, APG is investing round €38m in the operating site.

The Obersielach substation is the most important power hub in Carinthia and one of the largest substations in Austria. The commissioning of the new transformer will not only ensure the regional long-term security of electricity supply, but also improve the use of climate-friendly wind energy by means of interconnecting the wind farms in Upper Austria with the Carinthian pumped storage power plants in Malta and Reißeck. Surplus wind power can thus be transported to these “green batteries” and stored there. If necessary, the electricity can then be retrieved again from the storage power plants. Apart from that, the five largest Carinthian hydropower plants on the river Drau feed directly into the Obersielach substation.

> See APG press release, in German (html)

Picture: Erich Varh / APG

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First hybrid Statcom facility in Germany

26.04.2018

In the three-phase transmission system, reactive power must be in a well-balanced ratio to active power in order to keep the grid’s voltage on the required level. Without reactive power, the transmission of electricity would not be possible. In the “old” German energy landscape, mainly nuclear and other large power plants have been providing reactive power capacities. Since in the course of the energy transition more and more of these facilities go off the grid, the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) respond with the installation of reactive power compensation systems.

An outstanding example of this is given by TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, which is expanding the traditional Borken substation in the northern part of the federal state of Hesse to one of the most modern green power hubs of its grid. Here in Borken, practically in the middle of the German power system, the TSO is currently constructing a hybrid static synchronous compensator (Statcom) plant. From the end of 2019, the state-of-the-art facility will dynamically support the mains voltage and provide reactive power at 380kV level, thus making an important contribution to secure grid operation after the shutdown of the large power plants.

The Statcom plant in Borken, with its hybrid construction, will be the first of its kind in the entire German electricity grid. A mayor advantage of this system is its small space requirement ‒ in comparison to its wide reactive power control range. This considerably reduces the environmental impact. In the particular case of Borken, the renaturation of a nearby river has now become possible. Other reactive power compensation measures of TenneT include the new substation Bergrheinfeld/West with its phase shifting and direct coupling transformers. In addition to building new facilities, TenneT is also exploring other ways to provide reactive power, such as utilising wind power and photovoltaic systems.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

 

Picture: TenneT

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Second DCT reaches new TenneT substation

19.04.2018

As a result of the energy transition, the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) all are heavily involved in compensation measures to maintain long-term security of electricity supply in light of the decommissioning of nuclear and other large-scale power plants. Since 2015, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, has been building the completely new substation Bergrheinfeld/West in northern Bavaria, near the already shutdown Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant.

Bergrheinfeld/West is one of the projects TenneT considers essential for Germany’s energy future. Hence, the TSO invests about €100m in the new facility which will be one of the most modern of its kind. Already on site are a rotating phase shifter with generator transformer, three compensating coils and the first of two direct coupling transformers (DCTs) to connect TenneT’s supra-regional 380kV transmission grid to the regional 110kV grid. With a transmission capacity of 300MVA each, the transformers can theoretically provide electricity for around one million households.

Today, the second direct coupling transformer was delivered to Bergrheinfeld/West. It was built by GE Grid Solutions in Mönchengladbach and initially transported by ship across the rivers Rhine and Main to the port of Garstadt, where it was reloaded onto a 67-meter heavy-duty road transport unit. The transport weight of the transformer is about 260t, and the subsequent operating weight of both units will be 370t each. Preparations for the initial set up of the transformers are expected to be finished in July 2018, followed by the commissioning of the substation’s 380kV system section. The completion of the entire Bergrheinfeld/West substation is scheduled for 2019.

> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

Picture: TenneT

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Upgrade in Lower Austria

18.04.2018

The Austrian transmission system operator (TSO) APG maintains its sustained efforts to make the Austrian transmission grid future-proof. The TSCNET shareholder is investing €30m to modernise and expand the Ternitz substation in Lower Austria’s Industrieviertel. A new 220/110 kV transformer is the centrepiece of the retrofitted facility.

The 245-tonne high-tech device was delivered to Ternitz on 16 April. The transformer was transported from the manufacturing site in Weiz in eastern Styria via train and for the last few kilometres by means of heavy-duty road transport. With the substation upgrade, TSCNET shareholder APG ensures fail-safe operation and long-term security of electricity supply in the Industrieviertel, Upper Styria and in the Styrian Mürz valley. The completion of all reconstruction and modernisation measures is scheduled for 2020.

> See APG press release, in German (html)

Picture: APG / Martin Wieland

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