Neuenkirchen: New transformer station
Electricity feed-in from Albringhausen and Twistringen wind farms
By Sylvia Wendt
Press article from the Kreiszeitung
Neuenkirchen – Why here? The electricity produced by wind turbines must somehow be fed into the existing power lines. “And to do that, we have to find a corner pole. The nearest one, as seen from the Albringhausen wind farm, is in a biotope,” explains Andre Meyer, project manager at Westwind Projektierungs GmbH & Co. KG from Kirchdorf, explains the company’s decision in favor of the approximately 3200 square meter site on the grounds of the Neuenkirchen municipality as the location for the new 110 kV substation.
The grid operator (here: Avacon) allocated this connection point to Westwind as the applicant. The planning for a substation in the vicinity of the Albringhausen wind farm has already been underway since 2014, Meyer explains. The specific application for this site was submitted in September 2019, he said, and the building permit was issued by the Diepholz district in March 2020. Construction work began at the end of April.
The power from the windmills of the Albringhausen wind farm, which is currently under construction, and from the turbines of the Twistringen-Scharrendorf wind farm, for which the power after the planned repowering has already been included, will be fed into the grid.
Westwind builds itself
Why is Westwind actually building the substation, not the utility? “The projects are becoming more and more extensive, the megawatt output provided is increasing, and the energy suppliers often enough do not have such large substations. That’s where we’re forced to build ourselves in order to have the ability to feed in,” Meyer explains. The new substation at Gödderner Weg (which will be closed for the duration of the construction work, which is scheduled to last until the end of August/September) includes station buildings, two 110 kV switchgears and two transformers, each with 63/80 megavolt-ampere capacity. A six to seven-kilometer cable route is to be laid from the wind farm to the substation.
Between 120 and 180 megawatts can be fed into the grid. The higher output can be achieved by installing ventilation, Meyer explains.
In view of the large investment, the power range of the substation should be chosen carefully, he says. The seven turbines planned for the Albringhausen wind farm are super turbines: 5.3 megawatts of power and a rotor diameter of 159 meters.
But they can be even bigger: The market-leading manufacturer from Denmark had announced rotor diameters of 162 meters for 2020. The seven Albringhausen turbines feed in about 120000 megawatt hours of green electricity per year, Meyer explains.
Transformer one processes Albringhausen and Twistringen, transformer 2 is needed for the planned repowering of the Albringhausen II wind farm.
The topic of dimensioning: for how far into the future is the plant’s capacity geared? Overall, the turbines of the company Westwind occupy about one third of the capacity of the Neuenkirchen substation, Meyer explains. Accordingly, there would still be sufficient “space” for the feed-in of green electricity by further plants. The plans are geared to developments over the next 25 to 30 years, he says.
This is not the first transformer station for the Kirchdorf company: five are already in operation, Neuenkirchen and Bruchhagen-Nendorf being the current new construction projects. The Neuenkirchen site is located in the middle of a meadow, but is suitable for planning for infrastructure and development, he said.
It is also accessible by heavy goods traffic and the necessary cranes find a foothold, which becomes apparent when heavy prefabricated concrete parts are hoisted from the trucks and put together, as if playing with Legos, a comparison drawn by family man Meyer. Once the construction work is finished, the area will be generously landscaped and the next resident, a good 250 meters away, will also have a view of the greenery. A height limit has been specified for the planting, so hedges will be chosen.
When the substation is connected to the grid, operation is doubly safeguarded: Westwind’s own employees have an eye on it, and their colleague Christian Müller is responsible for this. The parameters are also transferred to the team from Elektro Koopmann and ultimately Avacon also checks what is being fed in. In the event of error messages, the Westwind employees and the electrical specialists are quickly on site, explains Meyer.
The Corona pandemic has not had any effect on the Neuenkirchen substation construction project, says Meyer.
However, since the individual parts are purchased worldwide, it sometimes made itself felt: Some parts were then not available at short notice and there were delays.