Wind energy is a mainstay of the energy transition. This energy is generated by large wind turbines in wind farms. Most of them are located in the windy north and even in front of our German coast – so-called offshore wind farms. This will continue to be the case in the future, because inland or in the south the necessary climate-neutral generation facilities will probably not be available to a sufficient extent due to weaker winds. So that we can still use wind energy further away, it will reach the center and south of Germany with underground cables. Plastic pipes are to protect the sensitive cables from damage.
Underground cables are a good alternative here and are now increasingly the method of choice. They also offer a number of technical advantages: Underground cables are less susceptible to faults than overhead lines and are largely protected from weather-related influences. In addition, energy transmission losses are low. Outside the cable they produce no electric fields and also no transmission noise. Nevertheless, significantly higher investment costs are to be expected for underground cables than for overhead lines, as laying them underground is more complex.
The routes for cabler that are running from the offshore wind farms to the south of German, each with up to 525 kV transmission capacity are building the backbone of our future energy infrastructure. They are indispensable engineering structures for implementing the energy turnaround. “The high-performance components, which have been continuously developed by plastic pipe manufacturers over many years, protect the sensitive cables from external influences during installation and throughout their entire life cycle,” explains Markus Hartmann, managing director of Kunststoffrohrverband e. V. (KRV), Bonn. As protection tubes for high-voltage and extra-high-voltage cables, plastic tubes are high-tech products designed for operating temperatures of 70°C and more. This means that they not only offer special protection against mechanical stresses, but also have increased thermal stability to withstand extremely high temperatures.
In the event of damage, pipe-sheathed cables can be repaired or replaced without major complications. “Plastic protective pipes are an indispensable component of cross-generational asset management of our supply networks, because they ensure that these networks retain their value in the long term,” Hartmann emphasizes. “Successful defossilization of our society and a successful energy turnaround are essentially linked to the use of plastic pipes.”
Head and post image: Wavin GmbH