In the first half year of 2017, TenneT has pressed on with its efforts to promote European energy collaboration.
The TSO has entered into a partnership with its Danish counterpart Energinet for the long-term development of a North Sea Wind Power Hub that will help ensure the affordable, large-scale supply of offshore wind energy.
In Germany and the Netherlands, TenneT is working together with IBM and start-ups sonnen and Vandebron using block chain technology to facilitate local, flexible electricity generation.
TenneT CEO Mel Kroon commented: “There are two key enablers of the transition to a more sustainable electricity supply system. Firstly, we need further integration of the North-West European electricity markets and therefore closer collaboration, so we can better cope with larger amounts of weather-dependent wind and solar energy. Secondly, we must develop smart, innovative systems that efficiently match the demand for electricity with the fluctuating supply from these ‘green’ energy sources. This can be accomplished using smart software solutions.
Further North-West European market integration is needed to achieve the long-term sustainability targets that have been defined. A consortium consisting of TenneT Netherlands, TenneT Germany, Energinet.dk, with additional partners to be expected, has been set up for this purpose.
In June 2017, TenneT also opened an office in Brussels to ensure a permanent presence in the administrative heart of Europe. Furthermore, TenneT’s Chief Operating Officer Ben Voorhorst has been appointed as President of ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity) with effect from 1 July 2017.
Underlying operating results (HY 2017)
Underlying revenue grew up to EUR 1,966 million in the first half of 2017, mainly driven by the reimbursement of payments made to electricity generators for shifting electricity production to avoid overloads on the grid or to keep supply of and demand for electricity in balance.
As these so called system service expenses are compensated on a pass-through basis, this does not affect underlying operating profit (EBIT). Underlying EBIT grew from EUR 414 million to EUR 478 million, in line with the growth in the company's asset base in the Netherlands and Germany.
Investments in further strengthening the electricity infrastructure in the Netherlands and Germany in the first half of 2017 remained at high level. Investments in tangible fixed assets amounted to EUR 750 million during this period.
The issuance of TenneT's ‘green’ hybrid bonds (EUR 1 billion) in March 2017 was followed by another senior green bond issue of EUR 1 billion in June. Both bond issues will be used to finance investments in the transmission of renewable electricity from offshore wind farms to the onshore electricity grid. The Green Financing page on TenneT’s website provides an overview of the eight offshore projects to be financed through the issuance of ‘green’ debt instruments.
TenneT’s expanding green bonds and loans programme is entirely in line with its extensive investment portfolio. Otto Jager (CFO TenneT): "Being the first ever corporate issuer of hybrid equity underlines our ongoing commitment to further develop a green financing market. We view this as an integral part of our social responsibility."
Major grid expansion projects in the Netherlands and Germany
TenneT is currently completing the construction phase of the Dutch section of the fourth cross-border electricity connection between the Netherlands and Germany – from the Dutch town of Doetinchem to Wesel across the border. Construction work on the ring connection in the northern part of the so called Randstad area (Randstad 380 kV Noord Ring) is proceeding according to plan. Work has also begun on two other major onshore projects in the Netherlands: South-West 380 kV – West & Rilland and North-West 380 kV.
TenneT’s onshore projects in Germany are both large scale and challenging due to the long distances and large number of stakeholders involved, the permit procedures and the technical and legal complexities. Nevertheless, a large number of new electricity connections have reached the construction phase. These include the newly built connections between Northern Germany and Denmark and the so called Westküstenleitung. The long-distance underground direct-current connections SuedLink and SuedOstLink are in the process of approval.
Offshore grid connections
Two offshore projects are currently under development in the Netherlands: Borssele Alpha and Borssele Beta. Both 700 MW offshore grid connections (consisting of offshore transformer substations and subsea cables) are expected to be completed in 2019.
They are the first of a total of five grid connections to be constructed in the Dutch sector of the North Sea for future wind turbine farms. The total connection capacity to be realized by 2023 amounts to 3,500 MW. The new 700 MW COBRA cable between the Netherlands and Denmark is expected to become available to the market in 2019.
The German offshore grid connections DolWin3 (capacity: 900 MW) and BorWin3 (capacity: 900 MW) are currently under construction. By 2019, TenneT is planning to have realised 7,132 MW of connection capacity for offshore wind farms in Germany.
Construction work on the NordLink project – a direct cable (1,400 MW) between the hydro powered Norwegian market and the German wind and solar based electricity market – is well underway. This subsea cable is scheduled to be operational by 2020.