Plants and Networks
Our power grid: efficient and reliable
In 2016 we fitted our grid with intelligent technology (Smart Grid) in order to improve the integration of renewable energy. Renewables provide 80 per cent of the power in the networks operated by EWE NETZ. EWE’s power grid currently features 270 controllable mains transformers that make it possible to manage voltage efficiently.
Enera – for the energy transition in Germany
In late 2016 the German government decided to provide the “enera” project with a subsidy of 50 million euros. In collaboration with our partners, we are working to make the energy systems in the districts of Friesland, Aurich and Wittmund and in the town of Emden future-proof, flexible and largely digitised by installing smart technologies. For example, around 32,000 smart meters are due to be rolled out in the model region. In future it will be possible to generate the same results throughout Germany.
Power generation: renewables on the rise
EWE has continued to invest in the expansion of onshore wind power. In future EWE will focus on renewable energy projects, including in partnership with companies and private individuals. Over the next few years EWE will gradually move away from conventional energy generation and focus on projects with customers and partners. Overall, three block-unit power plants are currently being operated by our subsidiary swb. In late 2016 blocks 5 and 14 were shut down permanently after having been in cold reserve. Following a number of construction-related delays, the gas and steam turbine plant went into operation on 1 December 2016. swb carried out the project in collaboration with partners from the energy sector. One such partner was DB Energie which will receive the majority of the plant’s output. The new power station has a net electrical capacity of around 445 MW and an efficiency level of over 58 per cent. Modern coal power stations have an efficiency level of just 45 per cent.
EXTENSIVE BROADBAND NETWORK EXPANSION FOR AN INCREASINGLY CONNECTED REGION
Direct fibre optic building connections are the future of broadband infrastructure. Fibre optic cables replace less effective copper cables, guaranteeing large bandwidths and fast Internet. EWE already offers around 90,000 households the option of having a fibre optic connection fitted. This number will increase sharply in the near future: over the next years we plan to invest 1.2 billion euros into an extensive fibre optic expansion project. Expanding the fibre optic network is a key milestone on our road to becoming the leading energy company in northern Germany.
OUR FOCUS IN THE FUTURE
In the long term, the accelerating integration of renewables will require a withdrawal from conventional energy generation. The investments due to be made in the Renewables, Grids and Gas Storage segment in 2017 total approx. 345 million euros. The investments are mostly in the infrastructure of the electricity, gas and telecommunications networks (approx. 206 million euros), in the offshore wind farm TWB II and in onshore wind farms (approx. 116 million euros).
The expansion of renewable energy and changing customer expectations are making it necessary to restructure and increase the flexibility of the infrastructure that we, as a service provider, make available. We face up to the regional challenges and fit our power grid with intelligent monitoring technology. We are seizing the opportunities presented by digitisation. By systematically integrating energy, telecommunications and information technology, we can pave the way for cutting-edge, smart energy systems. We guarantee security of supply with our power generation plants and gas storage facilities.
SELECTED MEASURES IN 2016
- Smart Grid: our entire power grid is being converted, for example 60 per cent of all switchboards have now been fitted with fibre optic connections.
- Broadband network expansion: a multi-billion-euro fibre optic expansion project has been agreed
- enera is paving the way for the energy transition.
- EWE NETZ was one of the first German grid operators to be certified under the German Federal IT Security Act (IT-Sicherheitsgesetz): legislators have obliged the operators of critical infrastructure to heighten their information security and have their standards certified. EWE NETZ passed the certification audit for the operation of power and gas grids in 2016.
- Joint project: a highly efficient natural gas power plant became operational on 1 December 2016.
- Smart metering: EWE is a co-founder of the joint venture GWAdriga, a service provider specialising in gateway administration and measurement data management.
Investments in infrastructure in 2016
EWE NETZ invested 162.4 million euros in the reporting year
Expansion of broadband infrastructure
EWE invested around 61 million euros in broadband network expansion in 2016. Investments totalling 1.2 billion euros are to be made in the networks over the next few years. In doing so EWE is making a significant contribution to digitisation in north-western Germany.
The power grid of EWE NETZ can be controlled intelligently in the event of unexpected fluctuations in electricity production from renewable sources and reacts automatically before the situation becomes critical.
A secure natural gas supply
With 38 underground gas storage facilities in its portfolio, EWE is contributing to a secure supply in the event of supply shortages.