In October 2020, we set ourselves the goal of making the entire company climate neutral by 2035. We have now achieved one of the first milestones as planned: Netze BW became climate neutral in 2021 and is one of the first distribution grid operators in Germany to achieve this goal. We are thus making an important contribution to climate protection both for Germany and for local authorities.
Our main priority is to avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
We introduced a package comprising more than 100 measures to significantly reduce the carbon footprint in 2021, which stood at around 390,000 tonnes in 2020.
Always thinking sustainability
In 2021, Netze BW switched over to biogas and green electricity for own consumption and pushed forward the conversion of its vehicle fleet to e-mobility.
The largest proportion of the carbon footprint at Netze BW – as at all grid operators – is accounted for by the procurement of electricity to compensate for grid losses. This electricity is procured by the operators of the electricity grid to compensate for physical, unavoidable energy losses when electricity flows through the grid and causes up to 90 percent of the relevant greenhouse gas emissions. In order to make our contribution to climate protection, we procure proofs of origin for sufficient volumes of green electricity and thus remove them permanently from the market. We then compensate for the remaining emissions using compensation certificates issued in accordance with the internationally recognized Gold Standard.
The Energiewende poses challenges for our electricity grid because green electricity is primarily generated decentrally in the wind-rich north and sunny south of the country. In order to also ensure a stable and reliable supply of electricity in the future, we are continuously adapting the electricity grids to the changing generation structure. At the level of the transmission grid, we are participating in the construction of the two HVDC north-south transmission lines ULTRANET and SuedLink via our grid subsidiary TransnetBW.
SuedLink as a wind power line
This project is in full swing: In the planning approval process, the first planning stage to define a 1,000-meter-wide corridor for the route of the underground cable has been completed. A possible route for SuedLink is now being identified.
ULTRANET: hybrid masts for direct and alternating current
ULTRANET is due to be completed by 2026 so that sufficient electricity can be supplied to the south of Germany. A special feature of this project is the hybrid masts that can be used to transmit both direct and alternating current. TransnetBW is responsible for the 42-kilometer section between Mannheim-Wallstadt and the grid connection point in Philippsburg.
The radio network operator 450connect – a joint venture of Netze BW and other companies in the energy and water sectors – had its bid accepted in March for the 450 MHz frequencies. This frequency range will now be used to develop a particularly secure LTE radio network with high availability for both the energy and water industries as well as other critical infrastructure across Germany.
This radio network will allow us to push forward the Energiewende and transport transition in cooperation with the other grid operators involved.
The new communication infrastructure, with around 1,600 radio masts, is due to be placed into operation by the end of 2024. In Baden-Württemberg, the service division of Netze BW will be responsible for the development of the new 450 MHz radio network.
The network is essential for enabling communication between millions of critical applications. Grid operators will then be able to monitor the generation, transport and consumption of energy in real time and manage it where necessary.
To ensure a reliable supply of energy even as demand increases, our subsidiary terranets bw is continuously expanding the gas transmission grid. An important part of this expansion work is the planned gas compressor station on the North Black Forest pipeline in Rheinstetten, near Karlsruhe. In August, terranets was given the go-ahead to construct the compressor station and place it into pilot operation by the regional administrative authority.
The start of construction work for the gas compressor station on the North Black Forest pipeline was marked by a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony in the autumn of 2021. It will increase the capacity of the natural gas pipeline by compressing the natural gas in transport to a higher pressure. This will make it possible to optimize the existing capacity of the gas pipeline in the future. The new station should be commissioned in 2023/2024.
Eligible cities and local authorities in Baden-Württemberg are given the chance to indirectly invest in Netze BW in our “EnBW connects” participation model. The model provides them with a simple and attractive opportunity to help shape the future of the electricity and gas grids and also share in our stable, economic growth. We are thus expanding our role as a partner for cities and local authorities in Baden-Württemberg and offering new opportunities to help shape the infrastructure of the future.
The cooperation with the new shareholders has only just begun but I am sure that we will be able to reap the rewards together over many years.
Shaping the future together
Around 170 local authorities have decided to participate – a success for the project, from which both sides will benefit.