50Hertz operates the electricity transmission system in the north and east of Germany, which it expands as needed for the energy transition. Our extra high voltage grid has an electrical circuit length of about 10,490 kilometres, or the distance between Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. The 50Hertz control area covers the Lander of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, as well as the city states of Berlin and Hamburg. Within these regions, 50Hertz and its 1,120 employees ensure that 18 million people are supplied with electricity around the clock. 50Hertz is a forerunner in the field of secure integration of renewable energy: in our grid area, 60 percent of the electricity consumed is already generated from renewable sources, and the trend is rising. The shareholders of 50Hertz are the Belgian Elia Group (80 per cent) and the KfW bank group with 20 per cent. As a European transmission system operator, 50Hertz is a member of the European association ENTSO-E.
We ensure stability.
We promote the integration of renewable energies.
We strongly facilitate the electricity market.
We are realising the grid of the future.
We are connected with Europe.
The rising demand for energy and the need to bridge increasing distances have over the decades required ever higher transmission voltages. Employing a range of voltages allows transport to be handled with a minimum of loss and maximum economic efficiency. High voltages are needed to bridge long distances and minimise transport losses. At the highest level, the supra-regional transmission grid, electricity is transmitted at extra-high voltages of 380 kV or 220 kV, across long distances from large-scale power plants connected to the extra-high-voltage system to centres of electricity use – including to European neighbours. The second level includes the distribution system operators of the regional electricity companies. They distribute electricity at a voltage of 110 kV in relatively large areas, where it is fed into the local networks: the low-voltage system. The various voltage levels are connected to one another via substations. Here, the voltage is transformed to higher or lower voltages.
The energy transition will not just happen by itself. It is only possible if we actively work towards it. If we maintain a dialogue with all the players involved to openly discuss the challenges of grid expansion. If we offer a reliable infrastructure that reacts flexibly to fluctuations in supply and demand. And if we make our decisions considering our customer’s perspective. Then we can look forward to a successful energy transition for a sustainable world.
50Hertz primarily transmits the energy in its grid using alternating current. This current changes its flow direction 100 times per second. In technical terms, the current oscillates at a frequency of 50 hertz. Fluctuations in electricity generation and consumption have an impact on the frequency. The frequency falls if there is a power deficit and increases if there is a power surplus. To ensure that the frequency is always in the range of 49.8 and 50.2 hertz, we constantly balance the oscillations. In doing so, we always keep the system stable.