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Prysmian wins €1 bn in contracts to help Germany achieve sustainable energy transition

Germany will install one of the world’s longest underground cable systems to connect North Sea windfarms to its energy-hungry south


Prysmian Group is taking an active role in Europe’s energy transition by developing increasingly powerful high voltage underground cables systems needed to cover greater and greater distances, distributing renewable energy throughout the grid as is the case with Germany’s north-south HVDC Corridors plan.

New underground HV cables for the stronger grids of the future

New underground HV cables for the stronger grids of the future
By 2022, Germany will phase out its 17 nuclear power plants, making it even more challenging to achieve its “Energiewende” plan to shift Europe’s industrial powerhouse onto a fossil fuel-free economy by 2050. Despite Germany’s massive investment in renewable energy, the country now faces a major hurdle in achieving its decarbonization goal because its electricity grid is not up to the task of transporting wind energy generated in the north to where it is needed in the southern regions.
Germany’s plan for three major north-south HVDC interconnectors – A-Nord, SuedOst Link and SuedLink—required Prysmian Group and other industry players to develop new 525 KV underground land cable technology. Prysmian has been awarded over €1 billion to design, manufacture, supply, lay, joint, test and commission these new cables systems for A-Nord (with a total length of around 300 kms) and SuedOstLink (over 250 kms).

These prestigious awards confirm the ambition of Prysmian Group to play a strategic role in the shift towards a low-carbon economy and to drive the energy transition forwards with smarter, more reliable and more sustainable solutions.
With SuedOstLink and A Nord, Prysmian extends its involvement in strategic underground interconnection projects, alongside the Piedmont-Savoy connection between Italy and France, the INELFE link between Spain and France, the ElecLink project running through the Eurotunnel between France and the UK, and the ALEGrO connection between Belgium and Germany.

The route A-Nord runs from Emden in Lower Saxony to Osterath in Nordrhein-Westfalen and the rout SuedOstLink starts at the Southern Germany connection point at Isar, close to Landshut in Bavaria

 

These new higher-voltage cables normally lead to a reduced quantity of cables to transmit the same power (comparing for example 525 kV to a 320 kV DC system), thus requiring less space to install, increasing also the overall benefit and efficiency for a project of this size. Prysmian has launched two new 525 kV cables, one qualified with P-Laser and one with XLPE insulation.

SuedOstLink and ANord underground cable system will use P-Laser technology, a fully qualified high-performance insulation system that has evolved over the years in a comprehensive HVDC development program of rigorous testing and extensive trials. P-Laser is suited for the highest voltage levels delivering enhanced thermal performance and high intrinsic reliability that enable more flexible and sustainable solutions, such as optimised construction with reduced trench widths. It is fully recyclable, eco-friendly and offers increased productivity. With 30% lower CO2 emissions in production, it has much higher environmental credentials compared to more conventional technologies.

"Our innovative and eco-friendly solutions are supporting Germany’s energy transition in a sustainable way, with the development of more capable underground cables able to cover longer distances with an increasing level of power transmission, to carry more energy from the North of the country, where renewable energy is being generated, to more southerly regions, where it is required"

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Germany’s energy corridors plan is ambitious to say the least, because these underground lines will be the longest in the world and will use a new, higher voltage cables technology. 

The future will certainly call for more energy dispatchment – stronger grids and safer energy – but for sure with fewer overhead lines. This is the trend of the future market for cables.   

Underground cables will replace overhead lines despite the fact that underground cables cost more up front. They are more eco-friendly and allow for easier permitting because residents and communities are less likely to oppose an underground cable.

“There can be no energy transition without cables. By taking part in these prestigious German corridors projects, Prysmian will enable the energy transition not only through state-of-the-art cables but also using the tools we have to monitor of the cable systems’ condition to detect any potential for an outage and minimize the effects on the public.”

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HAKAN OZMEN

EVP Projects