Dutch-German Transmission System Operator (TSO) TenneT is again presenting healthy financial results in the Integrated Annual Report 2017 and Financial Statements 2017 published today. The annual report further shows TenneT is working on an upgraded and robust electricity grid by combining new onshore and offshore infrastructure with the introduction of a more flexible electricity system and intelligent software based on blockchain technology.
TenneT CEO Mel Kroon commented: “In 2017 we made good progress on realizing our strategic priorities. Of essential importance is the fact that we have once again succeeded in safeguarding the high availability of our grids. And at the same time we're preparing our grids for a (near) future based on a fully sustainable energy landscape. Now modern society is increasingly dependent on electricity, the costs of renewable electricity decrease significantly and ‘green power’ is supplied by a wide range of sources at countless locations, we must shift to a new electricity system that can support this revolution. This means that we need to develop a more flexible system with sufficient capacity for the storage of electricity in hydrogen form and in batteries. The participation of millions of ‘prosumers’ in the electricity market is also of great importance because much less conventional and easily controllable capacity for electricity generation will be available in the future to maintain the supply-demand balance in the power grid. The balancing role of conventional power plants will be partially taken over by consumers with electric vehicles, solar panels or home batteries. Collectively, they can provide the required flexibility while also making money in the process.”
In 2017, TenneT therefore set up two pilot projects in the Netherlands and Germany to enable electricity consumers to take part in the electricity market. By collaborating with a so-called ‘aggregator’ (in this case Vandebron in the Netherlands and Sonnen in Germany) and applying blockchain technology, the capacity of all the pooled batteries can be utilized, enabling consumers to directly conduct transactions and in this way contribute to the energy transition, and – crucially – to maintaining the balance between supply and demand on the high-voltage grid. Assuming these pilot projects turn out to be successful, TenneT intends also to collaborate with other interested parties to create the electricity system of the (near) future.
Financial results and investments
|Key underlying financial figures (in millions of euros)||2017||2016|
|Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT)||897||834|
|EBIT, corrected for special items||742||701|
|Investments in tangible fixed assets||1,770||1,848|
TenneT CFO Otto Jager commented: “Our strong results enable us to continue to finance the necessary investments in the energy transition. The capital markets recognize us as a stable and reliable issuer of bonds, allowing us excellent access to a broad range of financing sources.”
Underlying revenue and EBIT
TenneT’s 2017 underlying revenue of EUR 3,948 million increased substantially from EUR 3,227 million in 2016, mainly due to increased reimbursements for expenses to balance demand and supply and additional revenue generated by the company’s growing asset base. Underlying EBIT increased from EUR 834 million in 2016 to EUR 897 million in 2017. Excluding special items (such as certain non-recurring reimbursements of offshore activities and releases of certain provisions), underlying EBIT grew as well, from EUR 701 million in 2016 to EUR 742 million in 2017. EBIT growth was mainly driven by the increase in our asset base.
Investments and financing
Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) totalled EUR 1,770 million in 2017, of which EUR 736 million was invested in the Netherlands and EUR 1,032 million in Germany. To meet the financing requirements resulting from its large investment portfolio, TenneT successfully completed the first-ever issue of green hybrid securities in April 2017 in a total amount of EUR 1 billion, classified as equity. In addition, TenneT issued EUR 1 billion in green bonds during 2017.
Senior unsecured credit ratings as of 31 December 2017
|Long-term rating||Short-term rating|
|Standard & Poor’s||A- (stable outlook)||A-2|
|Moody’s Investors Service||A3 (stable outlook)||P-2|
New offshore grid connections for wind farms
The development of an offshore system to connect wind farms off the Dutch coast to the onshore grid is proceeding according to plan. This concerns the Borssele, Holland Coast South and Holland Coast North wind farm zones, which together account for a total capacity of 3,500 megawatts (MW).
For the medium term, TenneT sees opportunities for further expansion of wind energy capacity in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. A capacity increase of approx. 7,000 MW is possible during the 2023-2030 period, divided across different zones off the west coast of the Netherlands and north of the Wadden Sea Islands. The roadmap for offshore wind energy currently being prepared by the Dutch government will provide definitive answers in this respect. TenneT is consulting closely with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy about these developments.
An artificial island to be constructed in the North Sea between the Netherlands and the UK is a possible solution if direct-current (DC) connections are used instead of alternating-current (AC) connections, as has been done so far. This solution would make it possible to accommodate the scale of future offshore wind farms and their greater distance from the coast. If the transport cables are then also used to trade electricity between the Dutch and UK markets, the utilization rate of the infrastructure will increase substantially from 45 to 80 percent.
Ten TenneT offshore grid connections are currently operational in the German sector of the North Sea: three AC and seven DC connections. This brings the total capacity currently available for the transmission of offshore wind power to more than 5 gigawatts (GW). That is more than enough to transmit the current total installed capacity of offshore wind farms. TenneT has already achieved over 80 percent of the German federal government’s 2020 expansion target for offshore capacity. TenneT expects to complete two new offshore grid connections in 2019, bringing the total operational offshore connection capacity to over 7 GW. The total capacity is expected to increase to over 10 GW by 2025.
In 2017, TenneT transported a record quantity of wind energy generated in the German sector of the North Sea, namely 16 terawatt-hours (TWh). This would be enough to supply green electricity to German railway operator Deutsche Bahn for over 18 months. The 2017 figures represent an increase of almost 50% compared to 2016 (11 TWh), and an increase of more than 100% compared to 2015 (7 TWh).
In 2016 TenneT announced its long-term vision (2030-2050 period) for an ‘energy island’ far offshore in the North Sea, which would allow wind farms with a combined capacity of up to 100 GW to be connected to the German, Dutch, UK, Belgian, Norwegian and Danish electricity markets. The consortium that is exploring the possibilities for the construction of this so-called ‘North Sea Wind Power Hub’ was expanded in 2017 to include Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, alongside the original partners (TenneT Netherlands, TenneT Germany and the Danish TSO Energinet.dk).
Connecting electricity markets
In the coming years, TenneT will significantly expand the cross-border electricity connections (interconnectors) between the Netherlands, Germany and other countries, adding flexibility to the electricity system. This will also have positive effects on price harmonization, the exchange of renewable electricity, and the security of supply in the countries involved. The construction of two new offshore interconnectors is already well underway: the NordLink subsea high-voltage cable between Germany and Norway, and the COBRAcable between the Netherlands and Denmark. The COBRAcable is scheduled for completion in 2019, and the NordLink project is expected to be ready in 2020.
The Dutch section of the new interconnector between Doetinchem (Netherlands) and Wesel (Germany) will be completed in 2018. The German section is being realized by grid operator Amprion, and is taking longer to construct than initially expected. The capacity of the existing interconnector between Meeden (Netherlands) and Diele (Germany) will be increased in 2019, while the existing bi-directional Dutch-Belgian transmission capacity is to be increased gradually until it has more than doubled by 2022.
The German government has pledged to move to a decarbonized economy by the middle of the century, and has set a target of at least 80% renewables for gross power consumption by 2050. There are similar developments in the Netherlands, as the government is committed to the accelerated decommissioning of existing coal-fired power plants by 2030 at the latest.
All this means that TenneT’s work to develop a grid that can accommodate even larger quantities of renewable energy is more important than ever. Growing its business to keep pace with these developments will require an expected investment of approximately EUR 28 billion over the coming ten years.
The planned investments in the Netherlands are related to grid expansions and an extensive maintenance and replacement programme for the existing grid infrastructure, among other projects. The main projects are the offshore grid (3,500 MW), Randstad 380 kV North Ring, South-West 380 kV, North-West 380 kV, the upgrade of the national 380 kV ring, the Doetinchem-Wesel interconnector, and the COBRAcable. In anticipation of political decision-making, the further development of the offshore grid in the Netherlands after 2023 has not been included in the overall investment plan.
At hundreds of kilometres in length, the DC connections SuedLink and SuedOstLink are the most high-profile onshore projects in Germany, because of their impact on the human environment and the high costs for society. The German government has introduced legislation to ensure that these connections are (largely) installed underground (i.e. as cables). In addition to the planned DC connections, over 20 major projects are currently in the planning or execution phase.
Integrated Annual Report 2017 and Green Finance Report 2017
More information about TenneT may be found in our Integrated Annual Report 2017.
TenneT has also prepared a Green Finance Report 2017 in connection with the issue of so-called ‘green bonds’ (starting in 2015) to finance the company’s investment portfolio.