How Norwegian electricity enters the German electricity grid | Company | Economic and Financial News from a German Perspective | DW
Thank goodness a power cable is not a concert hall, a train station, or an airport – such megaprojects recently undertaken in Germany have seen engineers and building managers fail miserably, damaging their old reputation.
But they can still redeem themselves: Thursday, May 27, the NordLink submarine electric cable between Norway and Germany will be inaugurated in time in Wilster in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Six months ago the connection was established, including a successful test.
“For the first time, we have directly connected the electricity markets of Norway and Germany,” CEO of German grid operator Tennet, Tim Meyerjürgens, said last December. Last week, he told reporters the test went without major issues. “We just had to make some minor adjustments,” he insisted.
The inauguration ceremony in Wilster will be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Specialized vessels laid the NordLink submarine cable connecting Norway and Germany
A win-win project
NordLink brings together the Norwegian and German electricity markets. Customers in both countries benefit. When German wind farms and solar panels generate little electricity due to adverse weather conditions, the submarine cable will provide Norwegian hydropower to German households, especially when Norway’s water tanks are full.
In drier periods, Scandinavians can get surplus electricity from German wind and solar farms.
At the start of the trial, Gunnar G. Lovas of Norwegian transmission network operator Statnett said that “NordLink will help us meet our climate goals and create added value in Norway and Germany.”
The 623 kilometer long (387 mile long) cable crosses the Wadden Sea and the North Sea for 516 kilometers, reaching the German mainland north of Büsum. An additional 54 kilometers an underground cable leads to Nortorf near Wilster in Schleswig-Holstein.
Nortorf houses one of two cable converter stations, where energy is transformed from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) or vice versa, depending on market requirements. The other converter station is located in Tonstad, Norway. It is connected to the submarine cable via a high voltage power line.
The cable has a capacity of 1,400 MW and is capable of delivering climate-neutral energy to some 3.6 million homes.
Nordlink, NorNed, BritNed and COBRAcable
NordLink is not a first as there are already a few high voltage DC transmission lines in the North Sea. One of them is Norned, which connects the power grids of Norway and the Netherlands. It is 580 kilometers long.
Another connects the Netherlands and the UK and connects Maasvlakte near Rotterdam and Grain Island in Kent. The project entered service in 2011, just three years after the Norned cable.
Since September 2019, Denmark and the Netherlands have also exchanged electricity via the COBRA cable, which is 325 kilometers long.
The number of offshore wind farms in the North Sea is expected to increase further over the next 10 years
COBRAcable also aims to make better use of renewable energies. Among other things, it focuses on making surplus Danish wind energy available to Dutch households.
The direct link between Denmark and the Netherlands is also aimed at relieving the electricity grid in northern Germany. In the future, offshore wind farms in the North Sea will be able to be connected to the COBRA cable.
It would also be an incentive for the construction of new offshore wind farms. German companies RWE and BASF only recently announced their intention to build one of the world’s largest wind farms in the North Sea. It will become operational in 2030. The project is expected to cost 4 billion euros (4.9 billion dollars).
This article was adapted from German.