Just one year after approval, Prime Minister Dr. Markus Söder, Stefan Wenzel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMWK, TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens and Dr. Egon Westphal, CEO of Bayernwerk AG, officially put the first section of the Ostbayernring replacement building into operation. With a planning, approval and construction phase totalling around five years, the northern part of the Ostbayernring is a model for network expansion. The transport capacity will be increased on the almost 51 kilometres of line between the two Upper Franconian substations in Redwitz and Mechlenreuth. This will enable more feed-in of renewable energies from the region in the future and, at the same time, strengthen the security of supply, grid and reliability in parts of Bavaria with a view to the winter. The celebrations took place in the presence of numerous regional economy and politics representatives, including Heidrun Piwernetz, District President of Upper Franconia, Annika Popp, Deputy District Administrator of the Hof district and Münchberg’s Mayor Christian Zuber.
Tim Meyerjürgens said: “TenneT last inaugurated the Franconia line in Bavaria in 2015. Therefore, today’s commissioning of the first 51 kilometres of the Ostbayernring is an important step for the network expansion and security of supply in Bavaria. We also need this speed, pragmatism and acceptance for our other nine grid expansion projects in Bavaria so that we can supply ourselves and our industrial sites with affordable, green electricity and make ourselves independent of fossil fuels. We owe the timely implementation of the Ostbayernring to the possibility of an early start of construction parallel to the approval process. If we want to achieve the climate protection goals in Germany and Bavaria, we have to build on this success story.”
With a view to the supply situation in winter, Stefan Wenzel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMWK, also sees grid expansion as the medium and long-term solution: “We have to make much faster progress with the expansion of the electricity grid. Every kilometre of line that is put into operation contributes to strengthening the power supply and stabilising grid fees in Germany. The commissioning of the first section of the Ostbayernring is an important milestone. More must follow soon.”
Dr Egon Westphal, CEO of Bayernwerk AG, added with a view to the distribution network in Bavaria: “Anyone who wants to unleash renewable energies must unleash the energy grids. Therefore, the expansion of Bavaria’s transmission and distribution network goes hand in hand. The Ostbayernring is a symbol for the joint design of regional and national power grids. With the bundling of different voltage levels over many kilometres of track, the Ostbayernring is a milestone on the way to a climate-neutral Bavaria.”
TenneT was able to start work on selected pylon locations in the section between Redwitz and Mechlenreuth in June 2021 before the actual approval in the planning approval process. This made it possible for the responsible approval authority to approve a so-called early start of construction. After the planning approval decision in November 2021, construction work could then be continued at all other pylon locations. Construction took only 15 months.
Ostbayernring at a glance
The Ostbayernring is a 185-kilometre high-voltage line between the Redwitz, Mechlenreuth, Etzenricht and Schwandorf substations. The existing 220/380 kV overhead line will be upgraded to 380 kV as a replacement. The plans for the new Ostbayernring are based mainly on the course of the existing line. After the new building has been commissioned, the existing line will be dismantled.
TenneT and Bayernwerk Netz jointly own individual line sections of the new Ostbayernring. In the now completed section between Redwitz and Mechlenreuth, the length of the 110 kV transmission on 53 pylons is around 21 kilometres. This minimizes the impact on the landscape.
The network expansion project is divided into four planning sections. Each section has its approval process by the responsible district government. The section between Redwitz and Mechlenreuth was approved by the government of Upper Franconia in November 2021 and has now been put into operation. After the planning approval decision for the section between Etzenricht and Schwandorf in August 2022, this section is currently under construction. The two planning sections between the Mechlenreuth and Etzenricht substations are still in the planning approval process. TenneT is expected to receive the planning approval decisions for the two sections by autumn next year. The entire replacement building should be completed by autumn 2025. The dismantling of the entire existing line should be completed a year later, in autumn 2026.
Image source: Courtesy of TenneT
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