50Hertz increases its investments in grid infrastructure

50Hertz has announced its intention to increase investments in the infrastructure needed to transport renewable energies. The transmission system operator (TSO) has announced plans to invest up to €5.6 billion in overhead power lines, onshore and submarine cables and substations over the next five years (2022 to 2026); almost twice as much as in the past five years.

50Hertz focuses in particular on grid connections for large offshore wind farms in the Baltic and the North Sea. 50Hertz wants to increase the connection capacity of offshore wind farms from around 1 GW currently to more than 7 GW in 2030.

“Legislation currently initiated by the German government to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy plants is important. Also to reduce dependence on imported energy sources in the medium and long term”,
said Stefan Kapferer, CEO of 50Hertz. “However, politicians should not forget that energy from wind and photovoltaic power plants must also be transported to consumption centers. Legislative activities must therefore also include measures that accelerate the extension of the urgently needed network. “

50Hertz said it expects a 30-40% increase in electricity demand in the grid area by 2030. This trend is already noticeable today: in 2021, electricity consumption in the states territories in eastern Germany, Berlin and Hamburg, has already increased by 3% per year. -over one year at 103 TWh.

Offshore wind plays a central role in 50Hertz’s strategy. Currently, 50Hertz feeds wind energy from four Baltic Sea wind farms with a capacity of approximately 1,000 MW into its onshore transmission grid. By 2030, 50Hertz plans to connect additional wind farms to the grid in the sea area between Rügen and the Danish island of Bornholm, off Darß, and for the first time in the North Sea. Altogether, this means an additional total capacity of over 6,000 MW of offshore wind energy that can be fed into the grid.

New overhead lines and underground cables are also needed on land to transport renewable electricity.

The network development plan 2035 (2021) approved by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) foresees around 500 km of additional network reinforcement and expansion measures in eastern Germany and Hamburg by 2035. This includes another high-voltage direct current (HVDC) connection between Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the northern coast of Friesland. To this end, 50Hertz and TenneT want to build a DC hub in the Heide region that can receive and distribute offshore and onshore wind power. This electricity will be routed to load centers in southern Germany via, for example, the SuedOstLink, which has already been submitted for planning approval, and the SuedOstLink Plus, which has not yet been approved.

In order to be able to carry out these network expansion projects more quickly, 50 Hertz is calling for faster approval processes, better equipped authorities and a focus on recruiting qualified workers are necessary, among other things.

50Hertz also revealed that another green bond is expected to be issued in 2022.



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