TenneT may get €500m for grid links

The board of directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT with €500m ($691m) to fund grid connections from the German coast to North Sea offshore wind clusters.

The financing is vital for TenneT to catch up with delays the TSO incurred with key offshore grid connections that have slowed down Germany’s ambitious plans to build-up a sizeable offshore wind capacity.

The green light by the EIB’s board only means that it has given its approval for the financing, an EIB press official said, but stressed that an agreement with TenneT still needs to be signed.

The financing is intended for the 576MW HelWin1, the 800MW DolWin1, and the delayed 864MW SylWin1 offshore grid links that are slated to connect various North Sea wind parks to the mainland.

“By developing offshore grid connections and linking wind farms to the German electricity grid, it helps the country to shift away from nuclear power generation,” the EIB cites as objective of the financing on its website.

“Moreover by supporting the integration of over 2.2GW of offshore wind generation into the grid, the project will significantly contribute to reduce CO2 emissions.”

Financial shortcomings at TenneT and misjudgements as to the duration of construction works for offshore grid links by companies supplying converter platforms for the links had threatened to derail Germany’s offshore wind programme last year.

The bottleneck was in part resolved when Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi earlier this year pledged €576m to buy into German offshore grid connections, followed by statements by TenneT that further financial deals were in the pipeline.