17. November 2023

For a secure energy future: New DC connections jointly implemented by 50Hertz, TenneT and TransnetBW

  • 50Hertz, TenneT and TransnetBW join forces to ensure greater energy security with new direct current connections
  • Transmission system operators utilise German Federal Network Agency approval process to speed up electricity grid expansion
  • StromNetzDC collaboration pools capacities to efficiently plan and implement four new DC connections

Last year, the German Bundestag adopted a streamlined approval procedure for new power line projects that are approved by the country’s Federal Network Agency. The first stage of this new approval process is what is known as the “preference area procedure”. In contrast to the previous procedure, federal sectoral planning is no longer required, meaning the transmission system operators no longer have to search for suitable areas for a route. Instead, the Federal Network Agency develops a five to ten-kilometre-wide preference area. Then, in the next step, the planning approval procedure, the transmission system operators plan the exact route the connections will take in this area.

German transmission system operators 50Hertz, TenneT and TransnetBW are now making use of this new option. They are pooling their capacities and experience from previous projects for the StromNetzDC collaborative arrangement and are jointly implementing four new projects that will make the German transmission grid ready for a carbon-neutral, secure energy supply:

  • NordOstLink (DC 31/32) is being planned and implemented by TenneT and 50Hertz and will run from Schleswig-Holstein to Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.
  • OstWestLink (DC40) is being implemented by TenneT and 50Hertz and will connect Lower Saxony and Saxony.
  • NordWestLink (DC41) is being planned and implemented by TenneT and TransnetBW and will run from Lower Saxony to Baden-Württemberg.
  • SuedWestLink (DC42) is being planned and implemented by 50Hertz and TransnetBW and will connect Schleswig-Holstein and Baden-Württemberg, with the option of a branch to Bavaria (DC42plus), probably with the involvement of TenneT as a project partner.

“A key factor in the energy transition is electrification, with the generation process gradually being decarbonised,” says Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT. “To achieve this, we need high-performance direct current connections in particular, as they bridge the gap between the renewable electricity produced in the windy regions of northern Germany and the energy-intensive industrial and consumption centres in the south and east of the country. We expressly welcome the initiative by the lawmakers to accelerate grid expansion. The new approval procedure is an important step on the way to a climate-neutral grid.”

The three transmission system operators are stepping up the pace. “Speed is the benchmark that drives us,” emphasises Dr Werner Götz, CEO of TransnetBW. “We can draw on our experience with the SuedLink and SuedOstLink projects, where we have already worked together successfully, and are now bolstering this collaborative arrangement. We know the local players, and utilise local experience in application procedures and intensive public participation. And the development of common standards also brings advantages.”

While DC connections were previously planned as pure point-to-point connections, the new direct current connections will be interconnected using innovative technology. This will make the new lines a central building block for a climate-neutral energy supply in Germany. “The planned line between west and east will create intersections between the direct current lines for the first time. Meshing these intersections is a major innovation,” explains Stefan Kapferer, CEO of 50Hertz. “This results in advantages in terms of controlling load flows and we are also increasing the resilience of the transmission grid: This is an important prerequisite for the climate-neutral energy supply of the future.”

The three transmission system operators will begin their first discussions in the regions as early as November, in parallel with the public preference area consultation of the Federal Network Agency. In the new procedure, 50Hertz, TenneT and TransnetBW are focusing on transparent dialogue with the public in order to receive information to help plan the DC projects at an early stage before submitting the applications.

Further information is now available on the new online portal www.stromnetzdc.com.

Alexander Schilling
Alexander SchillingSpokespersona.schilling@transnetbw.de+49 711 21858-3449