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Reliable grid operation

The distribution grid in Germany has for many years achieved the leading place in the European ranking for availability of electric power. We have played a significant role in this success as Germany’s biggest distribution grid operator. This is the result of continuous maintenance and repair, alongside expansion of our grids. We are increasingly laying underground cables with the aim of making the grid less susceptible to adverse conditions. Although these cables are more expensive than conventional cables, they are not affected by storm damage. Furthermore, underground cables do not detract from the beauty of the landscape and they are not a hazard for large birds.

More than 232,700 km of our distribution grid is made up of underground cables, amounting to nearly 70% of the total grid length. We are continually working to develop the infrastructure of our distribution grid. For example, high-temperature transmission lines can expand the capacity of the distribution grid and facilitate feed-in from decentral renewable energies. (Innovation)

The ‘Smart Country’ project currently being trialled uses intelligent grid management to achieve reliable operation of the distribution grid even though the feed-in of renewables is consistently fluctuating, The use of this innovative grid technology can also make a significant contribution to reducing the requirement to expand the grid (Innovation) -200 degrees celsius.

Structural conditions mean that grid losses fluctuate at the distribution level according to region. The aggregated values (high, medium and low voltage) for our grids in Germany are between 5.5% and 7.5%. New technologies hold out the prospect of transmitting electricity with virtually no losses. We are currently carrying out the ‘AmpaCity’ pilot project to test high-temperature superconductors which are able to transmit electricity virtually free of losses and energy efficiently when cooled to ‘only’ -200 degrees celsius.

Since 13 February 2013, a phase shifter at Biblis A has also been synchronised with the grid. This provides grid operator Amprion with capacitive and inductive reactive power compensation. This capability is necessary in order to maintain grid stability and therefore makes a major contribution to security of supply.