News Release from 50Hertz Transmission GmbH


Wind Industry Profile of

Renewables in the 50Hertz grid area at record high of 65%. Greater speed needed for net zero objective.

Despite the tense situation on the energy markets and the bottlenecks in gas delivery, the security of the system and supply was never at risk this winter. In addition to the measures implemented by the Federal Government to ensure the security of supply and the stability of the system as well as the mild temperatures, wind power, solar power and biomass played a supporting role, as transmission system operator 50Hertz stated today at its annual press conference in Berlin.

All Images: 50HertzAll Images: 50Hertz

In the 50Hertz grid area, the share of renewables in the annual consumption of electricity rose to a new high of 65% in 2022. Furthermore, renewable energy had a price-damping effect: on days with high wind and solar power feed-in, it lowered the high electricity prices on the exchanges. 

Last year, the 50Hertz grid area saw an increase in renewable energy plants by a total of 2,500 megawatts (MW), of which more than 1,800 MW were generated by photovoltaics and 700 MW by onshore wind turbines. The total installed capacity of renewables in the east of Germany and in Hamburg now exceeds 40,000 MW. Stefan Kapferer, CEO of 50Hertz: "We are observing a clear upward trend in photovoltaics and anticipate a significant further increase this year and in the years to come as a result of the connection of large arrays to the grid as well as the boom in private rooftop installations." In contrast, the development of onshore wind power is only slowly gaining pace. Stefan Kapferer continued: "The laws passed by the Federal Government will take effect in the medium term, but right now, the pace of development in this segment is not high enough to reach the ambitious energy transition and climate action targets by 2030 or the objectives of our own corporate strategy of achieving 100% renewables by 2032." 

250 kilometres of extra-high-voltage lines under construction

50Hertz is seeing much progress in grid development, as more and more projects are now reaching their execution phase after a long permitting procedure. 50Hertz is currently reinforcing overhead lines and underground cables along a total length of 250 kilometres and commissioned over 600 kilometres of lines that were confirmed in the Energy Line Extension Act (Energieleitungsausbaugesetz, EnLAG) and in the Federal Requirements Plan Act (Bundesbedarfsplangesetz, BBPlG). However, 50Hertz CEO Stefan Kapferer also stated: "It is very clear that, just like the development of renewable energy sources, grid development must move ahead faster to remove bottlenecks and reduce the costs for congestion management. Simplifications in the permitting procedures are a first but important step, whilst the staffing and technical equipment of the competent authorities, particularly on the municipal and federal state levels, must also improve. This is the only way to obtain the permits needed for the net zero grid of the future." 

At 50Hertz, 1,700 km of lines are currently in the permitting phase. In addition, 50Hertz will strengthen the entire grid infrastructure in order to be able to absorb more renewable energies from the connected distribution grids and keep the grid stable. This includes, among other things, the installation of phase shifters to control power flows and reactive power compensation systems to maintain voltage in numerous substations.   

Planned offshore grid connections with a total capacity of more than 8,000 MW

After several years, the slump in the development of offshore wind capacity is gaining momentum. The Federal Government has raised the development targets in its offshore wind energy act (Wind-auf-See-Gesetz, WindSeeG) and indicated the areas needed for it in the area development plan (Flächenentwicklungsplan, FEP) for the North and Baltic Seas. By the early 2030s, 50Hertz wants to connect offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea with a total capacity of almost 5,000 MW. Currently, four offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea are supplying a total capacity of over 1,000 MW via 50Hertz's grid connections. This year, the Arcadis Ost 1 wind farm should be fully operational; the offshore substation for the Baltic Eagle wind farm was already installed off the coast of Rügen island. This means that by late 2024, an additional offshore capacity of 750 MW will be available. A power hub in the Heide area in Schleswig-Holstein and the NordOstLink direct current connection are among the ways in which 50Hertz seeks to contribute to the exploitation of offshore capacities in the North Sea. The LanWin 3 grid connection with a capacity of 2,000 MW is already firmlyplanned, whilst others are still to follow. In the future, 50Hertz will be the only German transmission system operator that is active in both the North and Baltic Seas.

In addition to the expansion of the on- and offshore power grid infrastructure, the further development of the power market design is an urgent topic. Stefan Kapferer: "In order to maintain the security of supply and the stability of the grid in years to come, sufficient backup capacities are needed on the generation side, whilst the integration of heat pumps, electric vehicles and distributed storage systems are needed on the consumer side to support the grid. The market requires reliable framework conditions for corresponding investments in new, controllable power plants and flexibilities. These must be established more quickly than the phase-out of coal-fired power plants."

Record investments in grid infrastructure

50Hertz will invest €1.086 billion, crossing the ten-figure threshold for the first time. On the path to the power grid of the future, a further increase in investment activity is needed. Between 2023 and 2027, 50Hertz plans to invest €8.7 billion in overhead power lines, underground and submarine cables as well as substations. This is more than twice what it invested in the previous 5 years. Marco Nix, 50Hertz CFO, explains: "We will secure this increase in the long term. More than half of the volume consists of debt financing, mainly on the capital market and by means of other instruments." These instruments include a "green loan" of €600 million, provided by seven banks in the scope of the KfW programme "climate action offensive for companies" ("Klimaschutzoffensive für Unternehmen"). Nix clarifies: "The capital market environment is becoming more and more difficult to navigate. Sufficient profitability is essential to maintain the financing capability and the partial financing of the investments. Regulatory adjustments to the return on equity are therefore urgently needed." In 2022, 50Hertz achieved a net profit of €236 million, which is mainly characterised by non-recurring interest effects in the mid-double-digit million range.

Elia Group took further steps to fast-forward the energy transition

Elia Group CEO Chris Peeters underlined the importance of 50Hertz's growth path in a strong Elia Group "Despite operating in a complex environment, Elia Group in 2022 realised a large capital increase and took further steps to fast-forward the energy transition. Major infrastructure works were completed on land and at sea and the development of the world's first energy islands kicked off. Simultaneously, we are digitalising our company to improve the efficiency of our grid and to better manage growing system complexity. With the spread of electrification across the mobility, heating and industrial sectors, more interfaces and opportunities are emerging in terms of flexible consumption. The energy crisis made it clear that electrification combined with the accelerated expansion of low-carbon electrons will contribute both to meeting climate objectives and anchoring industry in Europe. More cooperation will therefore be needed, including with regulators and public authorities."

Press Office
50Hertz, TSO, Germany, Baltic Sea, offshore, wind power, PV, solar, grid, investment, temperature, ingfrastructure

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