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Germany: Growth in Electricity Transmission Network [free access]

March 12, 2020

As of December 2018, Germany’s transmission network comprised about 36,731 circuit km of line length at 110 kV and above voltage levels. Of the total line length, the majority, or about 55 per cent, was at 380 kV, followed by 39 per cent at 220 kV. Since 2014, Germany’s high voltage line network has increased marginally, with net additions being a little over 1,600 circuit km. The country’s transmission network saw an increase in undersea cable line length forming 3.6 per cent of the total network in 2018, increasing from just 0.9 per cent in 2014, mainly due to its increasingly strong focus on tapping offshore wind generation capacity.

 

The share of the 380 kV and 220 kV voltage levels has decreased by 2 and 4 per cent respectively over the past five years. The high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines formed 4.8 per cent of the total regional network in 2018, increasing at a CAGR of 69.3 per cent during 2014-18, owing to the addition of ±320 kV direct current (DC) undersea cables (USC) and underground cables (UGC) for the interconnection of offshore wind farms to the transmission network of the country during the same period.

 

Table 1: Growth in Germany’s transmission line length for 2014-18 (circuit km)

Voltage

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

380 kV AC

19,908

19,979

20,236

20,344

20,349

220 kV AC

14,794

14,355

14,326

14,423

14,174

150/155 kV AC

155

350

350

382

382

110 kV AC

60

60

60

60

60

±400 kV HVDC

15

15

15

15

15

±320 kV HVDC

0

981

1,461

1,461

1,550

±150 kV DC

200

200

200

200

201

Total

35,102

35,940

36,648

36,885

36,731

Annual growth rate (%)

(0.3)

2.4

2.0

0.6

(0.4)

Note: DC – Direct current; HVDC – High voltage direct current; Data for 2014 to 2018 has been calculated from figures given by the four grid operators.

Source: European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E); Amprion; TenneT; 50 Hertz; TransnetBW; Global Transmission Research

 

The transformer capacity of Germany stood at 206,396 MVA as of 2018, increasing from 191,495 MVA in 2014, registering a CAGR of around 1.9 per cent. During 2014-18 only 16 substations were commissioned.

 

Table 2: Growth in Germany’s transformer capacity, 2014-18 (MVA)

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Number of substations

428

439

448

450

444

Transformer capacity (MVA)

191,495

196,601

204,624

211,790

206,396

Note: Number of substations includes HVDC converter stations of TenneT TSO GmbH and switching stations owned by 50Hetz.

Source: Amprion; TenneT; 50 Hertz; TransnetBW; Global Transmission Research

 

The transmission network of the country is being owned and operated by four transmission system operators (TSOs), namely –50Hertz Transmission GmbH, Amprion GmbH, TenneT and TransnetBW GmbH. TenneT owns 34 per cent of the network, followed by Amprion at 29 per cent and 50Hertz at 28 per cent, with the remaining owned and operated by TransnetBW.

 

Figure 1: Change in transmission network ownership during 2013-18 (%)

 

Source: Amprion; TenneT; 50 Hertz; TransnetBW; Global Transmission Research