Renewable energy – converter system
50Hertz and TenneT, the two transmission system operators developing the connection, have placed an order with Siemens for the construction of the converter systems which will link both ends of the connection to the existing alternating current grid.
50Hertz is responsible for the part of the SuedOstLink which will run from Saxony-Anhalt to the Bavarian border, whereas TenneT is responsible for the section which will run through Bavaria.
Both transmission system operators launched a joint call for tenders for the two converters, as they form a single technical unit. Having won the contract for the tender, Siemens will deliver both converter systems to the project developers.
“The placement of the order for the converter systems brings us a good deal closer to the realisation of this power link that is so important for the energy transition,” said Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT. “TenneT already has many years of experience in laying underground DC cables on land and at sea, as well as in the secure operation of these systems. The SuedOstLink converter will be the 29th converter in our grid.”
“The SuedOstLink is a decisive step in achieving our objective of integrating 100% of renewable energy into our grid and system by 2032,” said Dr Frank Golletz, CTO at 50Hertz. “After the placement of the order for the SuedOstLink underground cables in May 2020, this is the second important order we have carried out for project.”
The site for the northern converter in 50Hertz’s area has already been determined: it will be built at the Wolmirstedt substation to the north-west of Magdeburg. Certain systems belonging to the existing substation can be used for the new project. Moreover, the substation is the most connected central grid node in the north-east of Germany, where high amounts of wind power are produced.
The southern converter in Bavaria will be constructed in the Landshut area, near the Isar grid connection point. TenneT is currently exploring four potential converter sites based on a scoping study published in October 2020 by the Federal Network Agency, which is responsible for granting the construction permit for the project. The Agency has the ultimate say about the site for the converter; it will publish its decision regarding the site at the same time as its decision about whether or not to grant planning approval for the project.
The converter systems each require a surface of approximately 4.5 hectares in order to be built. The entire construction phase, including commissioning, is expected to take three and a half years. The costs for both converter systems amount to several hundred million euros. The total cost of the SuedOstLink is around four to five billion euros.