TenneT is making progress in driving the European energy transition, as the Half Year Report of the German-Dutch grid operator shows. In the first half of 2019, TenneT has managed to maintain the high level of 99.99% security of supply, which is a growing challenge because of the increased feed-in of volatile renewable energy. To cope with this challenge in the future, TenneT has set up a number of strategic initiatives and partnerships to join forces across sectors. Following the Infrastructure Outlook 2050 published earlier this year, TenneT is taking next steps in planning of the energy system for 2030, in cooperation with Gasunie and the regional grid companies. The Power-to-Gas pilot project “ELEMENT EINS”, a joint initiative of Thyssengas, Gasunie and TenneT, has been selected by the federal government of Germany as one of 20 “real laboratories of the energy transition” to be funded by the government
In Germany and the Netherlands, TenneT is working together with regional grid companies and market parties on smart solutions to optimise the use of existing electricity infrastructure. The InnoSys 2030 project in Germany aims to optimise the transport capacity of existing infrastructure by new IT solutions and automated operation. The GOPACS-project - Grid Operators Platform for Congestion Solutions - in the Netherlands provides new market-based possibilities to reduce congestion in the electricity grid. TenneT is also taking the next steps in the blockchain pilot project to unlock flexibility for balancing the electricity system from decentralised sources, such as home batteries and electric vehicles.
TenneT also has continued to expand its positions as leading Offshore TSO. In Germany, TenneT has awarded the 14th Offshore grid connection DolWin 5. TenneT will increase its current offshore transmission capacity of 6,232 MW in the German part of the North Sea to almost 9 gigawatts by 2024.
In the Netherlands, the development of the offshore grid with the Borssele Alpha and Beta projects is on schedule. TenneT will provide a total of 10.6 gigawatts1 (GW) of connection capacity for offshore wind farms in the Netherlands by 2030.
1 GW existing wind parks, 3,5 GW following from the Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth (2013) and 6,1 GW following from the Roadmap Wind at Sea 2024 – 2030 (2018).
TenneT is carrying out a large number of onshore projects to guarantee the transport and thus the security of supply of a growing quantity of green electricity from new production locations on land and at sea, from the Netherlands, Germany and other European countries.
In Germany, the proposed 700 km corridor for the direct current connection (DC) SuedLink was presented in February, together with project partner TransnetBW. SuedLink and SuedOstLink2 , which will also be laid underground and covers almost 600 kilometres, will be transporting large volumes of sustainable wind energy from the north to the south of Germany from around 2025.
Also TenneT’s largest German AC project, the 230km line between Wahle (near Braunschweig) to Mecklar in Hesse, which also will transport green energy from the North to Southern Germany, is making significant progress, with building activities in 3 of 4 sections. The important reinforcement of the 380kV crossing of the Elbe between Hamburg (Nord) and Dollern in Lower Saxony is expected to get into operation by the end of the year.
The German and Norwegian markets will be connected to each other directly for the first time with the NordLink cable connection that is currently being built. The commissioning of this 623-km-long interconnector is expected to start in 2020 (full completion in 2021).The subsea COBRA cable between the Netherlands and Denmark has 'landed' at the connection point in Eemshaven and will be put in operation later this year.
Manon van Beek, CEO: "We have embarked on an irreversible transition to a sustainable society and a new energy system. This requires investments, not only in new electricity connections, but also in innovations and digitalisation. We have to move to holistic energy system thinking and also work on solutions to make better use of the existing high-voltage grids. We are convinced that this is the way forward to limit social costs and at the same time maintain a very high security of supply."
2 SuedLink is being developed by TenneT and TransnetBW, SuedOstLink by TenneT and 50Hertz.
Underlying operating results
In the first half of 2019 TenneT's underlying revenue of EUR 2,166 million increased with 10.2% compared to 2018 (EUR 1,966 million), mainly due to additional revenue generated by a growing asset base and reimbursements for increased grid expenses.
The increase of EBIT by 12.4% to EUR 407 million is partly due to a change in the regulatory treatment of costs related to operating the grid, such as grid losses and balancing expenses. Compared to 2018, the reimbursement of such costs has changed from a fixed budget to a pass-through methodology, as they are largely out of the company’s sphere of influence.
The implementation of the new lease standard (IFRS16) has led to an increase in depreciation and a reduction in operational costs. As a result, EBITDA increases, while the impact on EBIT is limited. As a result of the large number of projects - in development and execution - supporting the energy transition, investments increased by EUR 190 million (+21%) compared to the first half of last year.
Key underlying results3
|Amounts in millions of euro||30 June 2019||30 June 2018|
|Investments in tangible fixed assets||1,094||904|
|Senior unsecured credit ratings||A-/A3||A-/A3|
3 Contrary to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the so-called ‘underlying’ figures reflect regulatory assets and liabilities in connection with TenneT’s regulated activities. This means that amounts resulting from past events and that are allowed or required to be settled in future grid tariffs are recognized as assets or liabilities.
In January, TenneT received EUR 500 million of proceeds from its first Green Private Placement in the U.S., which demonstrates TenneT's ability to further diversify its sources of funding and investors to finance its substantial investment plans.
In May, TenneT issued a European green bond in two tranches, of 11 and 20 years, totalling EUR 1.25 billion. This bond will be used for investments in the transmission of renewable electricity from offshore wind farms to the onshore grid. Four Dutch offshore projects are also part of the green debt-financed portfolio, which up to now also includes nine offshore projects in Germany. With more than EUR 8 billion in sustainable financing issued, TenneT is the largest corporate issuer of green debt instruments in the Netherlands.
Otto Jager, CFO: "We have an excellent track record in and access to the debt capital markets. This gives us ample room to finance our extensive investment programme in a very cost effective manner. However, to maintain our strong credit ratings, we expect the need to raise EUR 2 to 3 billion of equity capital within the next 5 years as well. We are in a constructive dialogue with our shareholder, the Dutch Ministry of Finance, to determine the best way forward on this matter.“