TSOs plan 800km German wind link

Network operators TenneT and TransnetBW have signed an agreement to build an 800km high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that is seen as a key ingredient for the success of Germany’s Energiewende – its transition from nuclear to renewable power.

"With this power line we will be building the main artery of the energy transition, which will bring wind power from the north to the south of Germany," said Martin Fuchs, chairman of the managing board of TenneT.

HVDC is particularly suited to power transport over large distances, and will be playing an important role in nationwide balance of renewable energy throughout Germany, the two transmission system operators (TSOs) stressed.

"The power line is particularly important to those of us here in the south of Germany,” said TransnetBW chief executive Rainer Joswig.

“It will secure the energy supply to the region in times when an increasing amount of assured power generation from coal or nuclear power plants will be decommissioned."

Currently most of Germany’s wind power is generated in the country’s north, close to the North Sea and Baltic coasts.

But transmission bottlenecks make it difficult to transport the electricity to industrial centres in the south, where it is needed to feed industrial heavyweights such as Mercedes, BMW or Siemens.

The transmission line, dubbed SUED.LINK, will from 2022 – the year Germany plans to have switched off all its nuclear capacity – link Wilster near Hamburg to Grafenrheinfeld near Schweinfurt in northern Bavaria.

 In addition, there will be a connection between Brunsbüttel near Hamburg and Großgartach in Baden-Württemberg, another southern German state right next to Bavaria.

Germany now generates a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind, biomass and solar – a share it plans to boost to at least 35% by 2020, making sufficient transport capacity crucial.