The first direct current underground cables for SuedLink arrived in Zeven, Lower Saxony (Rotenburg/Wümme district). With this delivery, the transmission system operators TenneT and TransnetBW have reached another milestone in one of the largest infrastructure projects of the energy transition in Germany. The construction of the SuedLink high-voltage direct current line is now becoming concrete.

Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT: “The completion of the intermediate cable storage and the arrival of the first cables underline: SuedLink is coming. Parallel to the ongoing approval procedures, we are already preparing intensively for the construction phase so that we can start laying the underground cables seamlessly after the planning approval decisions have been made.”

Dr Werner Götz, CEO of TransnetBW: “The early tendering and ordering of the 525-kilovolt underground cable has paid off completely. With the cable deliveries starting on time, we are actively promoting SuedLink as a core project of the energy transition.”

Christian Meyer, Lower Saxony Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Protection: “When we talk about the success of the energy transition, we must always mention the urgently needed expansion of the transmission grids in the same breath as the expansion of wind and solar energy and the development of a green hydrogen infrastructure. It is enormously important to take the citizens with you and to further strengthen acceptance. The SuedLink underground cable deliveries that are now starting are therefore an important signal: progress is also being made with the electricity transmission network.”

The total of 2,400 kilometres of DC underground cable required will be produced by the European manufacturers NKT in Cologne and Karlskrona (Sweden), Prysmian in Gron and Montereau (France) and in Pikkala (Finland). Until construction work begins, the pieces of cable will be stored in eight regional interim storage facilities along the 700-kilometre SuedLink route. Each piece of cable is individually cut to the right length for its later place of use. The camps also serve as the starting point and base for the cable-laying teams. Each intermediate cable storage facility supplies SuedLink construction sites within a radius of around 50 kilometres. A total of 280 cable drums with a weight of up to 100 tons per drum are temporarily stored in Zeven. The heavy transports from the location of the cable production to the Zeven warehouse are spread over about a year. The transport of the 280 drums from the warehouse to the respective construction sites will be spread over several years. The traffic load on site is thus equalised in time and manageable.

SuedLink approval progressing

The Federal Network Agency is already processing four of the 15 applications for planning approval: for the Elbe tunnel near Glückstadt, laying the cable in the mine near Heilbronn and for sections in the Rotenburg district in Lower Saxony and in Bergrheinfeld in Bavaria. By the end of this year, TransnetBW and TenneT want to have applied for all SuedLink sections with the Federal Network Agency. The first construction preparations for the required tunnel on the Elbe have already begun. In Leingarten near Heilbronn, construction of the first converter will start in July 2023.

Image source: Courtesy of TenneT

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