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NordLink: Norway will become a "battery" of Germany
Material posted: Publication date: 16-02-2015

Investment agreement on laying on the bottom of the North sea high voltage transmission lines with a length of 623 kilometers will give a powerful impetus to the German renewable energy sector. And not only German.

Five years later Norway will become a "battery" of Germany. Reporters who invented this metaphor very accurately described the essence of the project in which investors are willing to invest 1.5 to 2 billion euros. In 2020, when both countries will connect undersea high-voltage power line (PL) length of 623 kilometers and a capacity of 1400 megawatts, before the booming German renewable energy opens up completely new perspectives.

Renewable energy requires powerful drives

After all, is the cardinal problem of renewable energy? The lack of intermediate storage. The wind blows and the sun shines is not always precisely at the moment when electricity is particularly in demand. As a result the windmills and solar panels that work in vain, not able to meet increased demand. The necessary technology is able to temporarily accumulate excess "green electricity" and thereby leveling out these fluctuations.

The most proven method of large-scale energy storage are pumped storage power plant (PSPP), existing in many countries, including in Russia and Ukraine. However, for their construction needs is mountainous or at least hilly terrain. When there is surplus power, the pumps at these pump water pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper. In moments of peak electricity demand water is again released, and she, as an ordinary hydroelectric power station, actuates a generator.

The specific problem of German wind energy is that the greatest development it has received in the North, where the almost constant strong winds, but where ridiculously flat terrain. The nearest hills - hundreds of miles away. Therefore, the idea to build underwater power lines to the mountain of the North sea coast of Norway - countries with rich experience in hydropower and, in particular, with PSP.

The Germans - the wind, the Norwegians - water and mountains

Thus, the concept of investment agreement, signed on 10 February in the Norwegian city of Haugesund, is to connect the two countries is very economical on long distances by direct current line that will allow to transfer from Germany to Norway for storage, the excess wind energy and needing to get back environmentally friendly hydropower.

"We can exchange energy between two complementary energy systems," emphasizes de Mel Krohn, head of the Dutch state Tennet, which is one of Germany's largest owners of transmission lines. Together with German state development Bank KfW, it will provide half the required amount for NordLink. The other half will make the Norwegian state energy company Statnett.

A new transmission line that will connect located North-West of Hamburg near the mouth of the Elbe town of Wilster with the Norwegian Tostada, will cover 3% of electricity consumption in Germany and thus will provide enough electricity for about 600 thousand German households. "We welcome the laying of marine cable, as it is another important step towards improving the energy security of Germany", - said the Minister of economy and energy of Germany Sigmar Gabriel (Sigmar Gabriel).

A system of underwater power lines in the region of the North sea

At the same time NordLink will significantly strengthen the role of Norway in the European energy sector. The Scandinavian country is already an important supplier of oil and gas. Henceforth she will be a major North European centre for the production, storage, and distribution of electricity. Because it is already connected by underwater transmission lines with Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. In the coming weeks a decision on routing the cable to Norway is going to take the British government. In London are guided by the same considerations as in Berlin.

"The new submarine cable will allow the UK to import large amounts of clean, green hydropower, as well as to accumulate our wind energy and solar power. This will increase our energy security and will allow to keep low electricity prices," says UK energy Minister ed Davey.

If you consider that by 2019 it is planned to lay still and underwater transmission lines between Denmark and the Netherlands, it is obvious that in the North sea area develops a powerful and extensive system of interstate transmission lines, which will allow to optimize the use of renewable energy in this wind rich region. The EU welcomes the establishment of similar networks of energy and is ready to provide financial support.

German environmentalists strip NordLink support, though I warn you: the shores of Germany, the cable will run along the bottom of the national Park Wadden sea (Wattenmeer). It is the world's largest homogeneous coastal-shallow water island declared world heritage site by UNESCO. The greatest threat to nature, warn German branch of the world wildlife Fund (WWF), will occur at the time of cable laying.


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