1 February 2008 – RWE Transportnetz Strom GmbH plans to invest almost €3bn ($4.5bn) in expanding its ultra-high voltage grid by 2017 in order to beef up its grid with new power lines in a total length of 800 km and more than 25 new transformer plants and substations.
In a statement, the company said numerous existing transformer plants, substations and power lines will be expanded or restructured to meet future grid requirements.
“With these billions of investments, we are making our grid fit for the future”, said Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, Managing Director of grid operator RWE Transportnetz Strom. “We are facing up to the challenges placed on our grid by the growth in wind energy generation, the addition of new power plants and intensive power trading across Europe.”
The tasks of electricity transmission grids are currently undergoing a fundamental transformation. Originally, the main benefit of the transmission grid was in increasing security of supply.
Transmission tasks were principally limited to regional connection of local power plants with centres of consumption and deliveries of auxiliary power between partners in the interconnected grid in the event of failures.
But today and in the future, said RWE, the predominant tasks are integration of fluctuating wind energy produced – far away from consumers – in the north of Germany, as well as expansion of the market platform for liberal pan-European trading and connection of distant conventional generating units.
“If we want to maintain the high security of supply we enjoy today, the transmission grid needs substantial expansion. Because of its situation in central Europe, our grid in particular plays a significant role as an important pivotal point for European power trading between north and south and between east and west,” added Kleinekorte.
“But for rapid implementation of our expansion plans we need a broad public consensus. And there must of course be financial incentives to invest as well”, he emphasised.”