The Hansa PowerBridge is an onshore/offshore cable connection that is being planned and that will run from the Güstrow substation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, over Fischland, through the Baltic Sea to Sweden.
Germany and Sweden want to connect their relative power grids via this direct current connection. The 300 kilometre distance will be bridged by a so-called interconnector: the Hansa PowerBridge. The interconnector serves to link various independent grids. After its completion, the Hansa PowerBridge will provide an important contribution to the stabilisation of the German electricity price, the security of the transmission system as well as to the indirect storage of electricity from renewable energy sources.In order to efficiently bridge the large distance between both countries, the power transmission concept is based on high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. Germany and the rest of Europe use alternating current. However, for long distances, HVDC offers greater advantages with regard to energy loss and power management.The Hansa PowerBridge should have a capacity of about 700 megawatts and be operational in 2025 or 2026. The investment costs for the infrastructure project amount to approximately 600 million euros. This amount will be shared equally by both project partners, 50Hertz and Svenska kraftnät. 50Hertz and Svenska kraftnät are currently preparing the permit documents for the project.
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In Germany, the supply of renewable energy will continue to increase in the years to come. Given that this electricity can often not be consumed immediately, unlocking storage capacity is a key to the success of the energy transition. There is a sufficient availability of high storage capacity in Scandinavia. Sweden’s energy mix is dominated by hydro-electric power stations, which are very flexible and produce CO2-free current. Moreover, the Swedish power grid is closely interlinked with the Norwegian grid. In Norway as well, large hydropower plants are available for electricity storage. Together, Sweden’s and Norway’s hydro-electric power stations offer a storage capacity of 48 gigawatt. The Hansa PowerBridge creates a connection between Germany and the large pumped storage plants in Scandinavia.
Market simulations show that the German electricity market will be greatly impacted by the volatile feed-in from renewable energy installations. In times of an electricity surplus from renewable energy sources in Germany, this can be transported to Sweden by means of the Hansa PowerBridge. There, it is consumed immediately and the water resources of the Scandinavian hydro-electric power stations remain unaffected. In periods with little wind, low solar irradiation and high consumption of electricity in Germany, Swedish electricity producers can use their untapped water reserves in a flexible manner to provide their favourable, eco-friendly electricity to German consumers, with a price-damping effect. The Hansa PowerBridge helps avoid price peaks and keep the market prices in both countries stable. As such, these hydro-electric power stations serve as indirect storage units for electricity from German renewable energy sources and ensure balanced prices on the power markets. The Hansa PowerBridge creates an additional trade capacity for renewable energy. This serves the political objective of further development of the single European energy market. The Hansa PowerBridge is therefore an important step to achieve the objective of the European Council of 15 per cent interconnector capacity compared to the generation capacity of a country.
Following the logic of requirement planning, the Hansa PowerBridge was included as European project no. 176 in the ten-year network development plan by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in 2014. On this basis, the national Grid Development Plan (GDP) was developed, put up for public debate and consolidated. In the GDP, the Hansa PowerBridge is listed as project P221, as an interconnector between Germany and Sweden, planned to be operational by 2025/26.
Lastly, the Hansa PowerBridge from a technical angle stabilises the European electricity system, as it can transport surplus renewable energy. The non-availability of other lines within the system can be compensated more easily by an additional connection.
From the Güstrow substation in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the new converter installation to be constructed, an onshore cable system should run east of Rostock up to the Fischland peninsula over a distance of approximately 75 kilometres. From there on out, a 105 kilometre long submarine cable is planned in the coastal waters of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which then runs through the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Germany up to the Gate 7 transfer point to Sweden. At Gate 7, at the border between the German and Swedish EEZs, the responsibility of 50Hertz and the German permitting authorities ends and is transferred to the Swedish side.
For infrastructure projects such as the Hansa PowerBridge, a regional planning procedure (Raumordnungsverfahren / ROV) is carried out as the first step in the planning. In this particular case, though, a separate ROV was not required, as the Hansa PowerBridge can be created within an already approved corridor originally intended for a gas interconnector that was not constructed in the end. This course of action was approved by the highest competent spatial planning authority, the Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalisation of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MEID), in its decision of 30 May 2017.
To determine the more specific route of the Hansa PowerBridge, various permits are required in the course of the further planning process. 50Hertz is currently preparing the corresponding applications.
The entire German side of the Hansa PowerBridge project is subdivided in four approval steps based on the geographical location and the legal requirements, for which a total of five permits are required:
On the German side, the approval procedure is expected to be concluded by late 2021. In Sweden, the necessary permits should also have been obtained by that time. The call for tenders for the installations is planned for 2022. According to the planning, the Hansa PowerBridge should be put into operation in 2025/2026.
All applications by 50Hertz will include detailed plans and comprehensive explanations on the project, more in particular on matters regarding environmental protection and nature conservation, tourism and ownership structures. In due time, the plans mentioned will be available on this Website.
Even before the start of the formal approval procedure, 50Hertz will gather information from local administrations and competent authorities, nature conservation and environmental associations as well as local residents, in order to include their concerns and interests in the planning as soon as possible.
We will keep you updated on upcoming early public participation measures here and in our Newsletter.
In order to efficiently bridge the large distance between Germany and Sweden, the transmission concept is planned as a high voltage direct current (HVDC) connection. As a rule, electricity is transmitted in Europe using alternating current technology. To efficiently transport the electricity between Germany and Sweden, the alternating current has to be transformed into direct current by converter installations. The HVDC runs through a so-called point-to-point connection via underground and submarine cable, directly between the converter installations of both countries. This direct connection transports the energy with fewer losses and is therefore more efficient for everyone. Furthermore, converter installations allow one to determine how much current flows through the line in which direction. It is also possible to better control offer and demand than when using alternating current.