EnBW connects the largest wind power plant in Germany to the grid
The largest wind power plant in Germany was fully connected to the grid at the beginning of January 2020. The offshore wind farm in the German North Sea with 71 wind turbines has now been fully erected. The EnBW Hohe See wind farm has already been in full operation since October 2019 and its smaller neighbour EnBW Albatros is now also producing electricity. They have a combined total of 87 wind turbines with an output of 609 MW and can produce as much energy as a modern gas power plant. The wind farms can supply on aggregate all of the private households in Munich.
EnBW Hohe See and EnBW Albatros are the largest offshore project to be realised in Germany. To this end, up to 600 employees worked at this large construction site in the middle of the sea. The Canadian energy infrastructure company Enbridge Inc. has acquired 49.9% of the shares in each of the wind farms. EnBW has retained the remaining 50.1% in both.
Photovoltaics makes the breakthrough – even without EEG funding
Solar electricity is a cornerstone of the Energiewende. EnBW is expanding its renewable energies portfolio and demonstrating that photovoltaic projects can also be realised without the support of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG). For example, EnBW has concluded the first long-term electricity procurement contract with Energiekontor for a solar park without funding. The contract is the first of its kind in Germany and EnBW has agreed to purchase 100% of the electricity for a fixed price for 15 years.
EnBW is going one step further in Weesow-Willmersdorf in Brandenburg: It made the final decision in October 2019 to invest in the construction of the largest solar park in Germany – the first major solar project without EEG funding. A solar park with an output of more than 180 MW will be installed on an area of 164 hectares. The company plans to fully commission the solar park before the end of 2020.
The EnBW Group is amongst the forerunners when it comes to exploring new paths for renewable energies. The EnBW subsidiary Erdgas Südwest (ESW) is currently building Germany’s largest floating photovoltaic plant on a flooded gravel pit in the municipality of Renchen. ESW is installing 2,304 solar PV modules with an electric output of 750 kWpeak on a 43 hectare area of the lake. Two-thirds of the electricity produced will be consumed on-site at the gravel plant. This switch to green electricity will save about 560,000 kg of harmful CO2 per year. This showcase project has already received numerous awards.
New areas for PV: ESW is constructing a floating PV plant on a quarry lake.
Valeco becomes part of EnBW
EnBW completed the acquisition of the French project developer and operator of wind farms and solar parks Valeco on 3 June. The acquisition strengthens EnBW’s business activities in the area of renewable energies and at the same time secures growth opportunities in one of the most important markets for renewable energies in Europe.
Valeco is based in Montpellier and is one of the top 10 operators of renewable energy power plants on the French market. The company has around 135 employees in the onshore wind and solar sectors. With an installed output of 276 MW of onshore wind power and 56 MW of solar power, as well as a project pipeline of 1,700 MW, Valeco generated annual turnover of around €50 million last year.
In cooperation with the Australian investor Macquarie Capital and the Taiwanese industrial company Swancor, EnBW has been developing offshore wind farm projects since 2018. Following the opening of the new representative office EnBW Asia Pacific, EnBW is now also at home in Taiwan. A team of eleven EnBW experts in Taipeh are working closely together with the offshore office in Hamburg.
The projects in the Changhua region involve the construction of wind turbines with a potential total output of up to 2,000 MW. This level of output is comparable to three conventional power plants. Taiwan has great potential for renewable energies. The country aims to phase out nuclear power by 2025, which in the past covered up to 20% of the electricity demand.
EnBW opens representative office in Taiwan. From left: Dr. Hans-Josef Zimmer, Chief Technical Officer of EnBW, Markus Wild, Head of EnBW Asia Pacific and Chun-Li Lee, Deputy Head of the Energy Authorities in Taiwan.
The guardian lion is a popular animal depiction in Chinese art. It stands for strength and power. Hans-Josef Zimmer and Markus Wild at the ceremony.
The EnBW team in Taipeh are ready to get started.
EnBW acquires the broadband and fibre optic company Plusnet
The QSC Central Office in Cologne, where Plusnet is also based. (Source: QSC AG)
EnBW took a major step in building a strong position for itself on the nationwide telecommunications market in Germany with the acquisition of Plusnet GmBH. Plusnet’s nationwide presence and attractive portfolio with around 25,000 business customers will supplement EnBW’s previous activities in this area.
Plusnet, based in Cologne, generated revenue of more than €200 million in 2018 with its around 400 employees. EnBW acquired 100% of the shares in the company from QSC AG. Under the umbrella of EnBW Telekommunikation GmbH, which also covers NetCom BW, Plusnet will continue to operate as an independent company with its reliable and high performing team at its current location.
EnBW operates the largest quick-charging network in Germany
EnBW was also pushing forward the mobility transition in 2019. For example, it developed the largest quick-charging network in Germany, mostly in collaborations with renowned and international partners. EnBW provides access to the largest roaming charging network for electromobility with more than 28,000 charging points in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH). Numerous other sites for quick-charging infrastructure are also in the planning stages – with charging points adapted to meet the relevant demand and generally with a capacity of at least 50 kilowatts (kW). In parallel, the already existing quick-charging infrastructure operated by EnBW on German motorways will be upgraded to a charging capacity of 150 kW and more. The so-called high power chargers supply enough electricity to travel 100 kilometres in just five minutes.
In Baden-Württemberg, EnBW headed a consortium of 77 municipal utilities and suppliers who successfully realised a “core charging network for electric vehicles in Baden-Württemberg” (SAFE). Baden-Württemberg is the first German federal state to have a comprehensive charging network for electric cars on a grid with a mesh size of 10 km by 10 km.
Netze BW is also ready for the mobility transition: The pilot scheme “E-Mobility Avenue” ended in October 2019 and delivered important findings on the impact of the broad use of electromobility on the electricity grid.
In addition, EnBW is also greatly simplifying the tariff system with the “Full with E” initiative. Drivers can charge their e-vehicles ad hoc and without any contractual obligations at the charging stations operated by all suppliers in the EnBW roaming network – even outside of Germany in Austria and Switzerland.
The “EnBW connects” model offers local authorities in Baden-Württemberg the opportunity to invest in Netze BW for the first time. Around 550 local authorities will be able to acquire shares in the EnBW subsidiary Netze BW GmbH. The model is an easy and attractive opportunity for local authorities to help shape the future of the electricity and gas grids and participate in the stable economic success of Netze BW. EnBW is thus further expanding its role as a partner for cities and communities in Baden-Württemberg and offering new opportunities to help shape the infrastructure of the future.
Netze BW: More electricity cables instead of overhead lines
Netze BW will make additional investment of around €300 million in cables over the next few years – more than twice as many kilometres of power lines disappeared underground in 2019 than was originally planned. The use of underground cables will make the power lines more efficient and less susceptible to the wind and weather at the same time. The main focus is being placed on the medium voltage level (10,000 or 20,000 volts) that serves as the link between the cross-regional and local grids.
The investment programme is focussing on the regions of Oberschwaben/Allgäu, Enzkreis, Heuberg and the Alb plateau. Empty pipes for broadband cables are also being installed together with the underground cables, which represents a big step forward in bringing fast Internet connections to many areas. Overall, Netze BW aims to lay an additional 2,000 km of power line cables in the next few years.
Electricity cables can be quickly laid under the ground with minimal impact using this type of “cable plough”.
Conversion from coal to gas: inauguration of the new combined heat and power plant in Stuttgart-Gaisburg
A new, gas-fired combined heat and power plant has been built right next to the old EnBW coal-fired power plant in Stuttgart-Gaisburg – one that is considerably more climate friendly, modern and compact than the previous power plant. EnBW invited guests to the official inauguration in May 2019.
The switch from coal to gas brings about a considerable reduction of CO2 emissions of about 60,000 t annually. At the same time emissions of particulate matter, heavy metals and sulphur dioxide will be largely eliminated. The new CHP plant has an output of 205 MW of heat and 30 MW of electricity and thus will make a significant contribution to the district heating supply for Stuttgart and the region, especially in winter.
Philippsburg nuclear power plant: Block 2 shut down
After 35 years generating more than 375 billion kWh of electricity, Block 2 of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant (KKP 2) was removed from the grid for good on 31 December 2019. EnBW thus complied with a stipulation in the revised German Atomic Power Act from 2011 on time.
Shutting down the power plant is a standard technical process that is comparable to the previous shutdown procedures for the annual inspections. The first preparations for the dismantling of the power plant will start at the beginning of 2020. The actual dismantling process itself will start with, amongst other things, the removal of the main coolant lines in the second half of 2020. EnBW currently estimates that dismantling KKP 2 in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Atomic Power Act will take about ten to 15 years.
EnBW is now only missing two approvals and then the dismantling of all of the nuclear power plants in Baden-Württemberg will be completely approved. The second dismantling approval for Block 1 of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant (KKP 1, applied for in 2017) and the decommissioning and dismantling approval for Block II in Neckarwestheim (GKN II, applied for in 2016) have not yet been received.
The decommissioning and dismantling approval for Block 2 of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant was handed over to Jörg Michels (left) from EnBW by Ministerial Director Helmfried Meinel (right).
Work starts on the ULTRANET converter station in Philippsburg
The first part of the area for the construction of the converter on a low-lying section of the former KKP site.
An ULTRANET converter station is being constructed on the former site of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant. In March 2019, EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK) handed over the first part of the area for the construction of the transformer station to TransnetBW, which will operate the transmission grid in cooperation with Amperion. This area covers 57,000 square metres on a low-lying section of the KKP site and was previously home to, amongst other things, 40 storage, workshop and assembly halls and an office container used by the partner company EnKK.
The planned converter station is part of the ULTRANET grid expansion project, which will act as one the largest power bridges between Northern and Southern Germany. TransnetBW is responsible for the section between Mannheim-Wallstadt and the grid connection point in Philippsburg, which is around 40 km in length.
EnBW sold its financial investment in the two Hungarian electricity supply companies ELMÜ and EMASZ and has thus withdrawn from the Hungarian market. The purchaser is a subsidiary of E.ON, which, due to the recently concluded acquisition of innogy, already indirectly took over a majority of ELMÜ and EMASZ.
“Since our entry onto the Hungarian market around 25 years ago, both minority shareholdings have developed very satisfactorily. The changes to the shareholder structure, however, meant that these shareholdings were no longer as strategically important and we thus took the opportunity to withdraw from the market under economically attractive conditions”, explained Thomas Kusterer, EnBW Chief Financial Officer. By selling its around 27% shareholding in the two electricity companies ELMÜ and EMASZ, EnBW has ended its engagement in Hungary.
Successful start for EnPower: The EnBW brand switches over to the new sales and billing system
Customised products, individual services and the best possible customer experience: These were the goals that EnBW was aiming to achieve when it redesigned its IT systems and business processes in the area of sales to bring them into closer alignment with the needs of its customers.
EnBW has responded to the transformation in customer behaviour, driven by digitalisation and the associated changes to the energy market, with the major project “EnPower”. Around 3.5 million customers were transferred to the new IT landscape when the new platform went live. The path to a tailor-made IT landscape is complex: The existing infrastructure that had been developed over the years had to be transferred from the old to the new system while maintaining its reliability. As well as placing entirely new demands on IT, the digitalisation project also required a transformation with respect to working methods. This mammoth project was supported by 150 employees from the areas of sales, operations and IT.