The detailed plan of the planning approval procedure

With the preparation of the planning approval procedure, the real precision work began, namely to factor the different conservation interests into the line plan. Taking local interests into account, the initial line plan was adjusted in 13 places in total. In Heinersdorf, for instance, the line's route was moved to the side of the existing wind farm facing away from the town, as suggested by local residents.

The planning approval procedure aims to achieve optimised routing through participation of so-called representatives of public interests, such as nature conservation authorities. In this respect, the planning tries to find a balance between citizen's interests and those of the environment. The planning authorities (for Brandenburg, this is the State Office for Mining, Geology and Raw Materials (LBGR)) ensure that all land owners affected by the construction project are consulted and that their objections are considered and weighed.

The surveyed corridor is 500 metres wide. The future overhead line route, however, will only have an average width of about 70 metres. This allows us to minimise the damage to settlements, natural areas and the landscape.

Expansion also means revitalisation: planned compensation measures

Compensation measures are always necessary when an infrastructure project impacts the environment. If trees need to be cut for a line route, the project developer shall compensate for this elsewhere.

For the Uckermark line, 50Hertz is currently planning about 70 of such compensation measures, included in the planning approval request. Furthermore, the State Office for Mining, Geology and Raw Materials (LBGR), in its capacity of planning authority, can later impose additional obligations in the planning approval decision.

The map shows the locations and nature of these measures. There are four different types: Firstly, there are gardening and landscaping measures, such as orchards. Secondly, in case of forest conversion and reforestation, it is important to provide reasonable compensation for unavoidable changes to the forest's resources. Monoculture is often replaced by mixed forests. Thirdly, there are measures to restore nature to previously developed areas, for instance by pulling down old buildings. Fourthly, existing overhead lines are decommissioned, erasing their interference with the landscape. To compensate for the 115-kilometre Uckermark line, some 110 kilometres of an existing 220 kV line are removed. This is complemented by other measures.

Documentation: Feasibility study on underground cable solution in Eberswalde

The route of the existing 220 kV overhead line already leads to Finow-Ost and the Brandenburg quarter of Eberswalde, fairly close to the built-up area. The new Uckermark line, with a high voltage level of 380 kV, should in principle be constructed on this existing route. There are only slight deviations in both residential areas, in order to create a greater distance between the route and the buildings.

After discussions with the city of Eberswalde, 50Hertz declared in 2011 that it was willing to research the conditions for an alternative realisation as an underground cable over a stretch of two kilometres. In February 2012, given the legal situation and the result of the feasibility study, 50Hertz decided to maintain the planned overhead solution. Here, 50Hertz documents the studies presented by CONSULECTRA, a consulting firm based in Düsseldorf, in April and August 2011.

50Hertz is aware that the published documents are fairly technical. In view of the need for transparency, we decided to make them public nevertheless. For clarity's sake, we would like to mention that two route variants of about two kilometres each were researched. The documents usually indicate the eastern variant with variant 1 and the western solution with variant 2. The study also includes a possible extension of the cable route beyond two kilometres. This option only concerns the western route variant and is sporadically indicated as variant 3 in the documents.

The feasibility study highlights a few examples of technical and topographic issues that need to be resolved for an underground cable solution. One distinct technical challenge is the crossing of the Finow canal. Another is the difficulty caused by old contaminated industrial sites or the ash dump north of the Finow canal. In the end, the feasibility study could not offer solutions to but only a shift of these problems.

More information on the planning assessment of the underground cable solution can be found in our press release of 7 March 2012. When cable solutions are concerned, the costs are often the subject of heated debate. 50Hertz would therefore like to point out that the considerably higher costs of the underground cable solution did not, in the end, influence the decision in favour of the overhead solution. For the approval of investment costs by the Federal Network Agency, cost efficiency is nevertheless a factor in the assessment. To illustrate: the usual costs for a single kilometre section of an overhead line amount to about one million EUR.

Maps

Map of Eastern variant cable link Eberswalde

Map of Eastern variant cable link Eberswalde Download

Map of Western variant cable link Eberswalde

Map of Western variant cable link Eberswalde Download