50Hertz greenlights energy transmission hub in Germany

50Hertz greenlights energy transmission hub in Germany
Image: 123rf

Transmission system operator 50Hertz will develop a site near Bad Lauchstädt, in the south of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, into an energy transmission hub. A total of four systems for reactive power compensation will aim to help stabilise voltage and support reliable electricity transmission.

The planned substation tech investments will be implemented together with regional and international partners. And now that the contracts are placed, preliminary work has started.

50Hertz has charged US manufacturer General Electric Renewable Energy (GE) with the delivery of two static synchronous compensators (STATCOMs).

Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen (MR), located in Erfurt, Thuringia, was awarded the contract to construct two MSCDN (Mechanically Switched Capacitor with Damping Network) systems in cooperation with Omexom EBEHAKO GmbH from Zwickau in Saxony.

According to the TSO, the Lauchstädt substation is critical due to its position as the starting point for a South-West Interconnector (‘Thuringian Electricity Bridge’) to transport renewable electricity to the south.

Cooperation for the substation Lauchstädt: Dr. Frank Golletz, CTO 50Hertz (right) and Dirk Kunze, Head of Assets (left) with Philppe Piron, CEO GE Grid Solution during the CIGRE-Meeting in Paris. Photo: GE

Dr Frank Golletz, chief technical officer at 50Hertz, stated: “If we want our future power supply to come almost exclusively from renewable energy sources, our grids require reliable as well as innovative operating equipment for voltage and frequency stability. Simply put, the reactive power compensation systems that we ordered will provide the ‘lubricant’ for smooth and secure electricity transport.

“The Lauchstädt site is extremely important as this is where the high-capacity South-West Interconnector in the direction of Bavaria, also called the ‘Thuringian Electricity Bridge’, starts and other high-voltage power lines converge,” he added.

Have you read:
German-Denmark interconnector land cable to be replaced
Smart Energy Finances: Green and sustainability-linked bonds for 50Hertz and Eaton
Germany’s net-zero future needs 41TWh hydrogen storage capacity says study

Transmission hub technical layout

The two STATCOMs (static synchronous compensators) to be constructed by GE provide dynamic reactive power and have an estimated capacity of 300MVAR each. Their completion is planned for 2025 and 2027.

The two reactive power compensation systems from Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen / Omexom also have a capacity of 300MVAR each and provide static reactive power. Complementation and commissioning are also planned for 2025.

Altogether, according to 50Hertz, dozens of STATCOM systems and other voltage stability and restraint systems will be installed at many sites in the years to come.

A corresponding capacity of more than 12,000MVAR was confirmed in the 2035 Grid Development Plan of 2021.

50Hertz has cited the importance of such stations as in the future fewer thermal power stations with large generators will contribute to automatic voltage regulation by providing reactive power.

For electricity generated from renewable sources, mainly wind and solar power, the reactive power needed for voltage stability that was previously supplied by large power plants needs to be replaced.

This is the function of the STATCOMs and the MSCDN systems, which will be installed at specific positions in Germany‘s transmission grid.

Further, electricity can only flow through an alternating current grid with the right active and reactive power ratio. This ratio is essential to create and break down a magnetic field 50 times per second so that the voltage is maintained during electricity transmission.

If there is too much reactive power in the grid, less electricity is transported, whereas if there is not enough reactive power, the voltage drops, which can lead to disturbances in the electricity supply.