On behalf of Deugro Deutschland, 300 kilometers of the required direct current cables (DC) for the Bavarian part of the project have already been successfully stored in the designated area in Regensburg and Kelheim.
The SuedOstLink represents one of the central power lines that are to ensure the supply of green electricity to Germany. Schmidbauer coordinates the handling upon delivery and storage of these cables thus contributes significantly to the realization of this ambitious project.
If you want to see where Schmidbauer has been preparing the area to supply Bavaria with green electricity since the end of 2021 on behalf of Deugro Deutschland, you can visit a specifically created area at bayernhafen in Regensburg. There, a 25,000 m2 area, about the size of four football fields, was set up. Here, cable drums of different dimension lie closely and accurately next to each other. With a length of ten meters and four meters in diameter each drum holds up to 1.75 kilometers of coiled underground cable – and weighs 80 tons.
A total of 50,000 tons of cable and over 1,000 kilometers on 800 cable drums will be unloaded off Danube vessels and stored at this location until the completion of the SuedOstLink. Schmidbauer has just reached a milestone: 300 kilometers of the innovative direct current cable are ready.
Italian cable innovation from France
The Transmission System Operator TenneT has commissioned the Milan-based company Prysmian Group to manufacture the cables. The DC cables must in operation withstand a voltage of 525 kV which is used for the first time for this purpose. They are a special product. The lead time is correspondingly long; "just in time" is not a solution. Production has been running in Gron near Paris, France, since autumn 2021. Ten drums at a time are shipped throughout Europe. According to plan, it takes 17 days to travel on the Seine via Paris to the North Sea, and from Rotterdam finally via the Rhine, Main and Danube to the storage area in Bavaria.
For unloading and storage, Schmidbauer has a Liebherr LR 1300.1 SX in operation there designed for lifting activities up to a maximum load of 300 tons. Thanks to many innovative assistance systems, the crawler crane increases safety in use and facilitates lifting. Its special, hydraulically adjustable cabin is ideal for carrying out transshipment operations. A second storage area in Kelheim has been in operation for a few months where the specialists work with a Demag 400-tonne crawler crane and mobile cranes for stowage on the area. In total an 18-member team including Quality Management takes care of the two locations and the stored goods.
Storage management under special conditions
The loads are not the real challenge for the team. The storage management makes special demands. Each of the cable drums delivered was loaded with an individual quantity of cable, precisely adapted to a specific construction section. The drums must be stored in such a way that the cable pieces are accessible one after the other and can be loaded when they are successively transported to the construction site by heavy duty vehicles starting 2024 onwards.
The electricity should begin flowing in 2027/28 and the project is scheduled to completed for Schmidbauer in 2028. The SuedOstLink is a central component of the energy transition and will ensure that the electricity produced from wind power in the north and north-east of Germany can be transported to the industrial centers of the south by means of extra-high voltage direct current transmission (HVDC).
The "electricity highway" will then stretch 540 kilometers from Wolmirstedt near Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt to the Isar substation near Landshut. The substations (converters) convert up to two gigawatts (the output of approx. 600-700 wind turbines under full load) of regeneratively generated alternating current into direct current, which can be better transported over long distances - and back again so that it can be used for household purposes. In March 2023, the converter celebrated the start of construction in Wolmirstedt.
270-kilometer-project for Schmidbauer
TenneT is planning, building, and operating the Bavarian part of the path, starting in Münchenreuth in the district of Hof.
In Bavaria, all cables are laid underground. Although this construction method involves more effort, it leaves the landscape largely untouched. The route will be 270 kilometers long. Since two parallel systems with two cables each are being laid, the total cable length will be over 1000 kilometers. The exact route of the cable has now been determined, but the official planning approval procedure is still underway. The green light for the start of construction is expected in 2024.
Schmidbauer had to undergo a rigorous examination before they could tackle this project. "In a tendering process that lasted more than two years we were able to prevail in the end," explains Werner Schmidbauer, CEO of the Schmidbauer Group. "It speaks for Schmidbauer that we can make a decisive contribution to this project which is so important for the future of our country." What spoke in favor of Schmidbauer was the company's focus on the renewable energy sector supported by a strong Heavy Lift department that implements prestigious international projects, as well as the excellent local footprint which scored points with a lot of regional know-how in and around Regensburg in the form of a strong presence and a well-functioning network.
Werner Schmidbauer also wants to emphasize another aspect: "It is important for us to meet our own high standards. We must fulfil high safety requirements for this project which we routinely operate by."
Location: Harbour Regensburg and Kelheim
Duration: End of 2021 till estimated 2028