525kV technology for Germany’s “power highways”

04.12.2019

SuedLink, SuedOstLink and A-Nord are large-scale DC connection projects that are essential for Germany’s low-carbon energy future, since these so-called “Stromautobahnen” (power highways) will transport green electricity generated in the north and east of the country to the consumption centres in the south and west. The three power lines will be implemented predominantly via underground cabling and are collaborative efforts of the four German transmission system operators (TSOs). TenneT and TransnetBW cooperate on SuedLink, 50Hertz and TenneT join forces on SuedOstLink and A-Nord is carried out by Amprion. Together with Ultranet, a joint project with TransnetBW, A-Nord forms the Korridor A.

The four TSCNET shareholders intend to install innovative plastic-insulated DC cables with a voltage level of 525kV in these projects. So far, 320kV cables have been used for comparable DC connections in Germany. As a matter of fact, it will be the first use of 525kV underground cables worldwide, which underlines the pilot character of the three high-performance connections. The decision by the TSOs was preceded by an extensive test phase on the technical suitability of the 525kV cables. The pre-qualification tests according to international standards of the Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) were successful and proved that the 525kV cables are reliable and safe.

A higher voltage level of the cables translates into more transmission capacity. This has two possible effects for the planned DC lines, assuming technical feasibility for the entire system: On the one hand, more electricity can be transmitted in a certain corridor with the same number of cables. On the other hand, fewer cables are required to transmit the same power compared to 320kV cable systems. This allows the routing to be designed narrower, which reduces excavation work and environmental impact.

The four German TSOs opt for innovative 525kV solution for power highways with underground cabling (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)

See article on single page

First pylon of new East Bavarian Ring erected

16.11.2019

The Ostbayernring (East Bavarian Ring) is an existing power line operated by the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT, that stretches about 185km from the Upper Franconian town of Redwitz via Mechlenreuth and Etzenricht to Schwandorf in the Upper Palatinate. After the shutdown of Northeast Bavarian nuclear and conventional power plants, the Ostbayernring primarily transports renewable energies. On several days of the year, more energy is generated by wind turbines and photovoltaic plants in the regions along the East Bavarian Ring than is needed locally. Due to the resulting increase in the amount of renewable energy fed into the grid, the East Bavarian Ring regularly reaches its capacity limits.

To ensure the security of supply and the reliability of the grid and to prevent grid failures for the entire region of Upper Franconia and Upper Palatinate, the transmission capacities of the East Bavarian Ring need to be significantly improved. A replacement construction for the East Bavarian Ring was therefore included in the German Federal Requirements Plan and the urgency of the project for the energy market was legally determined. The new line is being constructed along the existing route, extending the current 380/220kV systems to two 380kV systems.

In the course of the construction of the new East Bavarian Ring and the related grid reinforcement, the Redwitz, Mechlenreuth, Etzenricht and Schwandorf substations of the TSCNET shareholder are also being upgraded. Now the first pylon of the new Ostbayerring has been erected on the site of the Etzenricht substation. TenneT has captured the construction on film in order to give a well-founded impression of the erection process.

The first pylon of the new East Bavarian Ring of TenneT has been erected (picture: TenneT / screenshot taken from TenneT-video “TenneT Ostbayernring: Der Projektleiter stellt sich vor”, YouTube)

Linkup
> See TenneT tweet, in German (html)
> Watch video of the pylon construction (YouTube)

See article on single page

Single Intraday Coupling expanded

08.11.2019

Europe-wide intraday coupling is a key component for the completion of the European internal energy market. To help achieve this goal, the European cross-border Single Intraday Coupling (SIDC) solution was launched in June 2018 (then called XBID), standing for a significant step towards a single integrated continent-wide intraday market. A market of this kind increases the overall efficiency of intraday trading through effective competition, increased liquidity and more efficient use of generation resources across Europe. The SIDC solution is based on a common IT system with a common order book, a capacity management module and a shipping module.

The participating countries were initially Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. SDIC will now be expanded and continuous electricity trading will be possible across seven further countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. Nominated electricity market operators (NEMOs) and the participating transmission system operators (TSOs) have confirmed the go-live of the extended SIDC and two additional local implementation projects on 19 November with first deliveries on 20 November.

TSOs already collaborating in SIDC include the TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, Amprion, APG, TenneT, TransnetBW and Energinet as well as the TSCNET client Creos from Luxembourg. With the second wave, six more shareholders follow, namely ČEPS, ELES, HOPS, MAVIR, PSE and Transelectrica.

The SIDC solution for a single integrated European intraday market is expanded by seven countries, including Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia

Linkup
> See Energinet press release (html)
> See PSE press release (html)
> See APG press release, in German (html)

See article on single page

PROMOTioN for a North Sea transmission grid

08.11.2019

“PROgress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks” is a very precise project description but also a bit lengthy. In contrast, the dynamic acronym “PROMOTioN” refers quite well to the ambitions that the consortium members contribute to the research project. General goal of PROMOTioN is the further development of innovative technologies relevant for the deployment of meshed offshore HVDC nets. The more specific objective is to improve cooperation between grid operators and major suppliers of technical architecture and interoperable technologies to accelerate offshore HVDC grid development. PROMOTioN is the largest energy project funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, with a consortium of 33 partners from 11 countries, including the two TSCNET shareholders Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO.

A report by PROMOTioN has just been published (“Regulatory and financing principles for a meshed HVDC offshore grid”) summarising the principal findings for the design of a legal, regulatory and financial framework for cross-border HVDC offshore connections. The report provides recommendations for policy-makers and other stakeholders for overcoming regulatory and financial obstacles to the realisation of a North Sea transmission system. The key conclusion of the report and of the whole project is that the North Sea riparian states need to establish a harmonised legal and economic framework to fully exploit the potential of a meshed offshore grid in the North Sea.

A distinction is made between short-term and long-term recommendations, each of which is presented very concisely. Short term recommendations include the improvement of governance and regulation of the internal market for (offshore) electricity, optimisation of innovation financing, support for early communication of all parties involved and the formalisation of cross-border cost allocation (CBCA) as a binding contract. The latter aspect is regarded as one of the most important pillars in the economic framework. The most significant long-term recommendation is that EU member states, third countries and the EU should consider adopting a North Sea Treaty containing the objectives and principles of the offshore grid.

Tim Meyerjürgens, COO at TenneT, comments on the PROMOTioN project: “The development of a cross-border HVDC grid is one of the most promising opportunities for a sustainable energy future in Europe. TenneT is cooperating closely with other TSOs to develop the idea of a meshed and efficient offshore grid in the North Sea, which requires the creation of a common regulatory framework. PROMOTioN’s research shows the way to make this happen.”

The PROMOTioN project provides a framework for cross-border HVDC offshore connections (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit PROMOTioN website (html)
> Open PROMOTioN report (pdf, 2MB)

See article on single page

TenneT quadruples capacity across the Elbe

29.10.2019

A new Elbe crossing between the German federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony for the transport of green electricity from North to South Germany has been completed. Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT, together with the State Secretaries Andreas Feicht and Enak Ferlemann, the Energy Ministers Olaf Lies (Lower Saxony) and Jan Philipp Albrecht (Schleswig-Holstein), has commissioned the new power line between the substations Hamburg/Nord (near Norderstedt/Schleswig-Holstein) and Dollern (Lower Saxony).

The new 380kV line of the TSCNET shareholder consists of four sections and is a replacement of existing lines with predominantly lower voltage levels to meet the requirements of the energy transition. A total of 110 masts were built or modified and 37 temporary masts were erected on several sections of the line. Almost all of them have now been dismantled. The installation of new conductor ropes at “Elbe Crossing 2” which has the highest pylons in Europe with a height of 227 meters, was also part of this demanding grid expansion project.

Tim Meyerjürgens explained on the occasion of the commissioning: “The extension of the 45-kilometre-long power line is an important component of the energy transition. This also includes the optimisation of the ‘Elbe Crossing 2’, the main artery in the three-phase transmission grid between Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, which serves as a bridge between the two largest wind power states in Germany.” With these reconstruction measures, Tennet has quadrupled the available capacity for the transmission of wind power in this area to 9.6 GW. The transit capacity between Denmark and Germany will also be increased, which is why the new connection is of central importance not only for the energy transition in Germany, but also at European level.

Picture: TenneT

TenneT has put new power line across the Elbe into operation (picture: TenneT; from left to right: TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens; Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony Minister for the Environment, Energy, Construction and Climate Protection; Jan Philipp Albrecht, Schleswig-Holstein Minister of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalisation; Parliamentary State Secretary Enak Ferlemann; Andreas Feicht, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

See article on single page

Construction start of DolWin 6 converter station

24.10.2019

The so-called DolWin wind farm cluster in the southwestern part of the German Bight is an important component of Germany’s future regenerative energy supply. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is responsible for transferring the DolWin energy ashore. The DolWin1 and 2 onshore connections are in operation since 2015 and 2016 respectively, and DolWin 3 is ready for feed-in since September 2018. The other ongoing projects, DolWin 5 and 6, are also making good progress.

DolWin6 is a 900MW DC connection with a length of 90km. The associated offshore platform to convert the three-phase current generated by the wind farms into DC is DolWin kappa. Half of the 90km distance is covered by submarine cables and the other half by underground cables to transport the electricity from the landing site in Hilgenriedersiel to the TenneT facilities in Emden in the Lower Saxony region of East Frisia.

On the grounds of the Emden/Ost substation, the TSO is building a converter station and a transformer station to convert the DC back into three-phase current and feed it into the onshore grid. The first construction phase of the DolWin6 onshore converter station has now begun with the foundation work. In the next 6 months, 1000 piles with a length of up to 24 meters will be drilled into the ground to create a stable foundation for the station.

TenneT begins construction of the DolWin6 onshore converter station (pictures: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT Tweet, in German (html)

See article on single page

TenneT expands German headquarters

18.10.2019

The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT conducts its German business from Bayreuth. Here, in the capital of the Bavarian administrative district of Upper Franconia, TenneT moved into its new corporate headquarters in 2018 and is now investing a further €20m in a new office building with space for around 220 new employees. Construction began on 17 October 2019 with the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony attended by representatives from regional and national politics, associations, partner institutions and employees.

With the increasing challenges arising for TenneT from the energy transition, the number of its employees is also growing proportionally. Their number has risen significantly in recent years, and this growth will continue. In 2016, around 800 people were employed in Bayreuth, today it is almost 1,200. After the completion of the new building planned for 2021, the TSCNET shareholder will employ more than 1,400 people on the so-called TenneT campus.

“This is a strong signal for the enormous growth of TenneT and a clear commitment to the location in Bayreuth,” explains TenneT CFO Otto Jager. “From here, we will advance the energy transition with grid extension and innovation projects for a secure electricity supply.”

TenneT celebrates the construction start of a new office building on the Tennet Campus in Bayreuth (picture: TenneT; from left to right: Thomas Löw, CTO of the construction company Markgraf, Bayreuth’s Lord Mayor Brigitte Merk-Erbe, TenneT CFO Otto Jager and architect Johannes Jung)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

See article on single page

Randstad 380kV North Ring in operation

14.10.2019

The four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surroundings constitute the Randstad region in the Netherlands. With a population of more than 8 million people, it is Europe’s most densely populated area. Randstad has a high energy demand, which needs to be reliably met and secured also in the future. However, infrastructure construction measures are particularly challenging in such a conurbation. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), has now made an elementary contribution to security of supply of the Randstad.

After a construction period of five years, the 60-kilometer-long Randstad 380kV North Ring power line was put into operation on 10 October. More than 1000 people from the region, 300 landowners, over 25 responsible authorities, 13 contractors and 200 TenneT employees were involved in its construction. The new high-voltage line will reliably supply millions of households and companies with electricity. It will also provide the transmission capacity required for green electricity from North Sea wind farms. As a complementary measure, the existing 150kV connections in the region were adapted and two new high-voltage substations have been built in Beverwijk and Vijfhuizen.

At 151 locations along the route, Tennet installed innovative Wintrack pylons that consume less space, reduce magnetic field zones and, due to their slim and streamlined shape, fit much better into their surroundings than conventional steel lattice pylons. Ten kilometres of the North Ring have been laid underground. The aluminium cables used by TenneT are a novelty. They are cheaper than conventional materials and conduct electricity more efficiently, which means that their carbon footprint is smaller.

TenneT has commissioned the Randstad 380kV North Ring (picture of the opening ceremony with TenneT CEO Manon van Beek and COO Ben Voorhorst: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)

See article on single page

€215m for green connection capacity

11.10.2019

The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT plans to invest a further €215m to connect two GW of green electricity from solar and wind farms in the north of the Netherlands to the grid. The infrastructural measures include the construction of two new 380/110kV high-voltage substations in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe. In addition, the TSCNET shareholder intends to provide extra capacity at nine existing 110kV substations in the northern Netherlands.

One GW corresponds roughly to the output of 3.5 million solar modules or 200 wind turbines. The additional capacity planned by the TSO is therefore considerable, but according to Ben Voorhorst, COO of the TSO, as many solar and wind farm transmission requests as possible should be complied with. Already now TenneT operates projects in the northern Netherlands with a volume of more than €1bn. This level of investment is now being further increased, with the TSO focusing strongly on the sustainability and efficiency of the investments. “The better the capacity expansions of electricity grids are actually utilised, the better the consumer’s money is spent,” explains Voorhorst.

TenneT invests €215m in the connection of renewable energies in the northern Netherlands (picture: TenneT)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release (html)

See article on single page

Central project management and office for SuedLink

24.09.2019

The SuedLink extra-high voltage line is not only the most important individual project of the energy transition in Germany, but also the largest underground cable project in the world: Around 700 kilometers of cable will be laid and around ten billion euros invested. By connecting the windy regions of northern Germany with the consumption centres in the industrially highly developed south, “power highways” such as SuedLink are indispensable for achieving Germany’s and Europe’s climate goals. SuedLink is implemented jointly by the two TSCNET shareholders TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), and TransnetBW, the TSO from southwest Germany.

In order to efficiently advance the further approval procedure and the subsequent construction of SuedLink, the two TSOs have commissioned the international technical service company Jacobs as central service provider. The aim is to coordinate and control the various tasks such as planning, approval, obtaining easements and construction under one roof. This makes SuedLink the first major project in Germany in which an external central service provider is involved. TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens explains why the two partners decided on a model that has proven itself many times in such large-scale projects on the international market: “The schedule for implementation is challenging. At the same time, the expectations of politics and the public continue to rise. For this very reason, controlling and coordination play such an important role.”

The commissioning of Jacobs is accompanied by the opening of the central SüdLink office in Würzburg, Lower Franconia. Together with the central service provider, TransnetBW and TenneT will initially create 130 jobs there, the number of which will rise to 250 in the course of the project. To better incorporate regional knowledge into the planning process, further decentralised project offices are to follow along the route. Dr. Werner Götz, Chairman of the TransnetBW Executive Board, comments on the development: “By commissioning a central service provider and setting up a joint project facility in Würzburg, we have laid the foundations for the successful implementation of this major project.” The staff in Würzburg will include engineers, archaeologists, landscape planners, biologists, geologists, and project managers, all joining forces for Europe’s energy future.

TenneT and TransnetBW commission a central service provider for the implementation of SuedLink (picture: TenneT / Katja Schubert)

Linkup
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release, in German (html)
> See TransnetBW press release on the office opening, in German (html)

See article on single page