With a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony, Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil and TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens started the construction of an underground cable investigation field in Gut Dunau near Seelze (Hanover region).
In the presence of representatives from politics, agriculture and the media, Stephan Weil said: “High-performance power connections such as SuedLink are indispensable for the energy transition in order to transport power from the north to the south of Germany. However, it is also true that underground cable connections cannot be set up without digging into the ground. I can well understand that, besides practical experience from other parts of Germany, farmers also want to be shown how the SuedLink cable behaves in the specific soils through which the SuedLink is to run. That’s why I welcome TenneT’s transparent review of previous experience in a scientifically supported field study.”
Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of transmission system operator TenneT, said: “We take farmers’ concerns very seriously. With the results of our investigations, we would like to validate our soil protection concepts and show how the soil can be protected preventively and which measures help to restore it naturally. TenneT has already laid more than 1,000 kilometres of DC cables in Germany and has extensive operational experience. Our positive practical experience is incorporated into the SuedLink plans to minimise soil impacts and avoid permanent losses in agricultural yields.”
Torsten Nordmann, Managing Director of the Landvolk Hannover eV said: “The Landvolk Hannover welcomes the establishment of the Gut Dunau investigation field and the other investigation fields and has always advocated having the future effects of the construction and operation of the underground cable line SuedLink investigated in detail. TenneT is thus implementing a measure that agriculture has wanted since the SuedLink was planned.”
SuedLink is being built as a direct current cable connection and is the central infrastructure project of the energy transition, which is intended to transport wind energy from northern Germany to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg from 2028. TenneT is one of the two project sponsors and is setting up a total of three underground cable investigation fields in Lower Saxony: in Heeslingen (Rotenburg (Wümme) district), Walsrode (Heidekreis district) and Seelze. There it is scientifically observed how the soil recovers from the construction intervention and what interactions there are between construction and operation on the one hand and the plant yield on the other.
The tests also check the calculations made for the heat input of the SuedLink cables into the ground. The locations were chosen so that they cover the most representative soils possible, through which SuedLink will later run.
The field investigations are carried out and scientifically supported by independent experts from the Leibniz University in Hanover, the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel and the Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) in Erlangen-Nuremberg.
All three fields of investigation are to be set up by the end of 2022 and then continuously examined for four years. The farmers will fully integrate the areas into the surrounding cultivation during this time.
Scientific consortium for the field investigations
The transmission system operator TenneT is responsible for planning and constructing the field tests. With the field tests, TenneT is implementing a central requirement from agriculture. A consortium led by the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Leibniz Universität Hannover, and the Kiel University of Applied Sciences created the research design on the basis of current scientific and technical knowledge.
The Faculty of Agricultural Economics at the Kiel University of Applied Sciences deals with all plant cultivation issues and investigations. The Institute for Soil Science at the Leibniz Universität Hannover covers the field of soil regeneration. The working group for near-surface geothermal energy at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg is responsible for the geothermal and pedological investigations in the subsoil.
Vössing Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH monitors the construction of the test fields in cooperation with the geotechnical engineering office for site research Geries GmbH.
Image source: Courtesy of TenneT
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