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Innovation portfolio

50Hertz has an extensive portfolio of national and international innovation projects in the domains of energy markets, system management and asset management / grid operation. 50Hertz participates in these projects either as an active or associated partner. Here you can discover some of the projects in our portfolio.

BestPaths - High temperature low sag conductors

Research on different high-temperature low sag conductors

With the BestPaths package project on high-temperature (HTLS) conductors, 50Hertz wants to carry out electrical and mechanical tests on HTLS conductors and their insulator fittings. These tests are intended to analyse a comparison of different HTLS technologies in view of their suitability for the 50Hertz grid. In order to achieve this, the following and other steps were taken:

  • Analysis and selection of different available HTLS technologies for testing
  • Definition and description of application cases for HTLS conductors from a system operator point of view
  • Performance of mechanical and electrical tests
  • Artificial ageing tests to observe the long-term performance of HTLS conductors and fittings

The first series of ageing tests for the conductors has been concluded. Now, the aged conductors are subjected to different tests to assess their long-term stability. For this research, 50Hertz works together with TU Dresden and the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM).

50Hertz is a direct partner in this project.

You can find more information at:

Videos about the subprojects can be found at:
Demo 1: "Offshore wind integration"
Demo 2: "Multivendor interoperability"
Demo 3: "Upgrading multiterminal HVDC links"
Demo 4: "Innovative repowering of AC corridors" 50Hertz subproject
Demo 5: "Superconducting links"

compactLine - Development of a compact 380 kilovolt overhead line

Development of a compact 380 kilovolt overhead line

50Hertz is developing a global technical novelty: an overhead line of 380 kilovolts that takes up less space, both in height and width, called compactLine. The tower height and corridor width are reduced from the conventional 50-60 m and 72 m to 32-36 m and 55-60 m, respectively. To achieve this, almost all overhead line components were newly developed: towers, steel suspension ropes, insulator sets, bundle spacers and earth-wires. Existing 220 kV overhead line corridors could be replaced by this compact structure with an increased transmission capacity. One of the objectives of the project is the possible increased acceptance for the much-needed expansion of the grid. To this end, an acceptance study was carried out, consisting of interviews with experts, stakeholder workshops and public surveys. Other compactLine project goals are the reduced encroachment on the landscape and the environmental impact of power lines on man and nature as well as increasing the number of options for line construction. The R&D project has been ongoing since 2013. The theoretical calculations were followed by mechanical and electrical tests on prototypes. The last tests were concluded in late 2016. A pilot line of 2 km was then planned for 2017.

50Hertz is the consortium leader for this project.

You can find more information at:

GridCast - New method to better determine the expected wind and solar feed-in

In the scope of the GridCast research project, the Fraunhofer Institut für Windenergie und Systemtechnik (IWES) and the German Weather Service (DWD) work together with system operators to develop new methods to better determine the maximum possible (offer-dependent) and actual wind and solar power feed-in at random grid nodes of the German power grid as well as the feed-in to be expected in the next hours or days. The methods have been specifically adapted to provide system operators with optimised input data and information on uncertainty factors for their real-time and forward-looking grid security calculations. At first, the methods will also explicitly take measures into account that lead to a reduced feed-in into the gird and that are not primarily determined by the weather. One of the project’s main strengths is the consideration of the entire process chain: (1) from the analysis and processing of potentially available measuring data, (2) over the optimised weather forecast adjusted to the energy industry and Nowcasting models of the DWD, (3) and building on this, over the IWES models to calculate the current and future wind and solar feed-in to be expected at random grid nodes, (4) up to the use in grid management by transmission and distribution system operators.

50Hertz is an associated partner in this project.

You can find more information at:
energiesystemtechnik.iwes.fraunhofer.de/de/projekte/suche/laufende/Gridcast.html (German)

ORKA 2 - Improvement of renewable feed-in forecasts

This project proposal seamlessly continues the successful work of the ORKA group to significantly improve both the renewable feed-in forecasts and the underlying weather forecasts of the German Weather Service (DWD) for the purposes of grid operations management and grid security calculation. A new important field of application is added: the use of ensemble data to predict the current-carrying capacity of overhead lines. It is implemented in close cooperation with the DWD and system operators 50Hertz Transmission (transmission system) and Avacon (distribution system).

In the current ORKA project, significant initial progress was already made with regard to the ensemble forecast model COSMO-DE-EPS of the DWD for critical weather situations, as well as major progress in the integration of ensemble forecasts for grid node-specific RES feed-in in grid security calculations.

Given the complex issues in modelling the atmospheric boundary layer, the generation of reliable ensembles and the embedding of probabilistic capacity forecasts in existing algorithms for grid security calculation, there are still great challenges in these fields that are the subject of this project proposal. An important new theme is the short term forecasts of current-carrying capacity on overhead lines, i.e. the maximum admissible current without excessive sagging or a thermal overload of the conductor, which at present does not yet have an application in grid operations management. Considering that, for instance, the wind also provides better cooling of the lines in case of a high wind power feed-in, a high potential for the better use of existing grid infrastructure can be created so that larger RES volumes can be tapped into in critical situations.

50Hertz is an associated partner in this project.

NETZ:KRAFT - Grid restoration in view of future power plant structures

Grid restoration in view of future power plant structures

Grid restoration (Netzwiederaufbau, NWA) is only needed in extreme situations in the supply system. It is an ancillary service that is provided and coordinated by the transmission system operator (TSO) responsible for the system.
The research project follows two main lines of action: on the one hand, the further development of the available NWA concepts of the TSOs, taking into consideration the behaviour of renewable energy installations and on the other hand, basic studies on the possibilities to actively use decentralised generation in supply islands of the distribution system operators (DSOs) to reduce the outage times. The objective is to include renewables in the NWA process with or possibly also without enabling voltage setting.

50Hertz is an associated partner in this project.

You can find more information at:
energiesystemtechnik.iwes.fraunhofer.de/de/projekte/suche/laufende/Netzkraft (German)

SysDL 2.0 - Ancillary services by decentralised generating units

Ancillary services by decentralised generationg units

The focus of the research project is to develop and practically validate system-technical principles for a coordinated provision of decentralised ancillary service (AS) primary products. The AS production is generated by third-party generating units (GU) connected to the distribution system. The research is performed within the distribution systems by ENSO NETZ, Mitnetz & TEN, taking into account the company-specific grid topologies. As a basis for the studies in SysDL 2.0, grid-stabilising voltage, active and reactive power correcting options for certain specific applications are determined at defined transfer points between 50Hertz and the distribution system operators.

The grid operation strategies to be developed by technology group SIEMENS in close cooperation with several research institutes (also referred to as SysDL 2.0 modes) are based on the (currently) available decentralised resources of third-party GUs.

50Hertz is a direct partner in this project.

You can find more information at:
sysdl20.de (German)

WindNODE - Showcase for smart energy from the north-east of Germany

The showcase for smart energy from the north-east of Germany

The wind and sun can provide a lot of energy. But their output cannot be planned. Nevertheless, ever more energy consumers rely on variable sources or their own generating or storage units. The success of the energy transition therefore depends on a permanent and optimal coordination of generation and consumption. This is only possible by creating extensive smart grids, in which all system participants can communicate with each other in almost real time through an “Internet of Energy”.
The WindNODE partner project supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) gathers over 70 partner companies and offers an ideal basis to realise such system innovations. The partner network represents all stakeholders of the energy industry, so that direct development feedback can be generated.

50Hertz is the consortium leader for this project.

You can find more information at:
windnode.de/ (German)

Concluded projects

Below you can find a selection of concluded projects.

BestGrid - Greater transparency through cooperation

Greater transparency through cooperation

The expansion of the electricity grid is a decisive component of the energy transition, not only in Germany but in all of Europe. During grid development projects, the project developers are often accused of a lack of transparency in the planning and realisation. This creates political and public pressure on the projects, resulting in higher project costs and delays in the grid development required for the energy transition.
In the wake of BESTGRID, transmission system operators and environmental associations worked on pilot projects for over 30 months, in order to try out new approaches for public participation and stakeholder groups with special attention to environmental interests. The objective was to improve understanding of the project, use more local knowledge and speed up the approval procedure where possible, without lowering environmental standards. 50Hertz was represented with its 380 kV overhead line project between Bertikow and Pasewalk. Among other things, communication approaches were tested for questions with regard to electric and magnetic fields near extra high voltage lines.

50Hertz is a direct partner in this project.

You can find results and more information at:

EWeLiNE/ORKA - Improvement of weather forecasts

Creation of innovative weather and capacity forecast models for the grid integration of weather-dependent energy sources / Optimisation of ensemble forecasts of renewable feed-in for the short-term range using the example of the grid security calculations

In the next years and decades, a fundamental transformation will take place in the power supply in Germany and around the globe. The objective is a sustainable supply based on renewable energy, especially of wind and solar power. Due to the weather-dependent nature of electricity generated from wind and sun, this will lead to a thorough change in the entire electricity supply system. In order to ensure a cost-efficient and secure operation of the electricity supply system with a high share of renewable, weather-dependent energy, precise and local weather forecasts are needed.

In the R&D project ORKA, an existing ensemble system (COSMO-DE_EPS) of the German Weather Service, which works with high-resolution ensemble forecasts, was developed further to support secure grid operation.

The R&D project EWeLiNE targeted the development of a software reference architecture that should serve as a generally applicable basis that can also be understood by third parties not involved in the project and that can be reused. As such, further developments in this field should also be supported.

50Hertz was an associated partner in both projects.

You can find results and more information at:

ReWP/PV-Regel - Control power from wind and solar

Control power provided by wind and solar farms / control power with photovoltaic power stations for stable grid operation

In order to guarantee the security of supply, the transmission system operator provides ancillary services. One of these ancillary services is frequency control, provided through control power. The installations that provide the control power restore the balance between production and consumption, so that the target grid frequency can be maintained. Currently, control power is mostly supplied by conventional power plants. However, because of the energy transition, the conventional power stations are being replaced by renewable energy, mainly from fluctuating sources.
The objective of the ReWP project was therefore to develop tools and procedures that enable the optimal use of wind and solar farms to provide control power in view of the cost-efficiency and security of the electricity system.
The PV-Regel project studied in which form the different photovoltaic systems, from small private units to large outdoor photovoltaic power stations, can contribute to the supply of control power in the future. It furthermore described which role these photovoltaic systems could play in the future for grid restoration.

50Hertz was an associated partner in both projects.

You can find the results and more information at:
ReWP: forschung-stromnetze.info/en/projects/balancing-energy-from-wind-and-photovoltaic-farms/
PV-Regel: forschung-stromnetze.info/en/projects/balancing-power-with-pv-systems-for-stable-grid-operation/

SDL-Batt - Ancillary services and energy storage by means of large batteries

Ancillary services (AS or SDL in German) and energy storage using large batteries to stabilise grids with high shares of RES - concept and demonstration

How can a battery storage unit for a control power plant be developed further? This was the central question for the researchers of the SDL-Batt project. The further development of a highly efficient battery storage unit for control power plants or to provide grid stabilisation services was the focus of the partner project. In the scope of the project, different ancillary services were studied and partly tested, documented and their cost-efficiency was compared. The provision of control power and other ancillary services as well as the developments and tests this requires, were used as the basis for an innovative 10 MW Li-ion battery system. Operational data, energy balancing, legal and regulatory framework conditions and simulations of various operation modes were paramount to the research.

50Hertz was a direct partner in this project.

You can find the results and more information at: