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24 September 2019

SuedLink breaks new ground in project management in Germany

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  • Jacobs appointed central service provider of SuedLink project
  • Project site opened in Würzburg

24 September 2019 – Bayreuth, Stuttgart.

Having set out to connect underground cables, SuedLink is the largest energy transition project – with plans to transport wind electricity from northern Germany to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Developers Ten-neT and TransnetBW have commissioned central service provider (CSP) Jacobs, an international company offering engineering and industrial services, for their area of responsibility in order to efficiently speed up the further approval procedure and subsequent construction work. It will coordinate and manage various aspects, including planning, approval, obtaining easements and construction from a single source, for the respective transmission system operator. SuedLink is the first large-scale project in Germany to apply this form of central management with the help of a partner.

Management from a single source

“SuedLink is the single most significant project of the energy transition in Germany and Europe. The implementation timeline is challenging, yet the expectations of policy-makers and the general public continue to grow. This is precisely the reason why management and coordination are taking on such an important role. To meet these expectations, we have opted for the CSP model, which has proven its worth time and again in the international market when it comes to implementing projects of this scale quickly, purposefully and efficiently," said Tim Meyerjürgens, Managing Director of TenneT.

“SuedLink is the world’s largest underground cable project and crucial for the energy transition. By commissioning a central service provider and setting up a joint project site in Würzburg, we have paved the way for the successful implementation of this large-scale project. In the years to come, up to 250 employees, includ-ing engineers, archaeologists, landscape designers, biologists, geologists and project managers, will come together here to drive forward SuedLink – Germany’s largest energy transition project,” said Dr Werner Götz, Managing Director of TransnetBW.

Jacobs was selected as the central service provider following intensive negotiations and a pre-determined transparent procedure in which many renowned companies took part. Jacobs managed to come out on top with its coherent concept and high level of expertise in implementing large-scale infrastructure projects. The two developers and the central service provider will work at the new SuedLink site in Würzburg. From October onwards, around 130 people will be working there, with the number increasing to 250 over the course of the project.

By choosing the CSP model, TenneT and TransnetBW have opted for an approach that is the first of its kind to be applied in Germany. The model involves the developers providing the CSP with a framework for project management. They will define technical requirements and establish milestones, as well as monitor the work of the CSP and project progress. The CSP will work independently within the limits of the set framework and in partnership with the two developers. This concerns all activities involved in the approval process, planning and construction. In some instances, the CSP will also commission and manage subcontractors.

New SuedLink site in Würzburg

“The demand for intelligent, sustainable solutions for treating our environment and resources responsibly is one of the greatest challenges of our time. SuedLink is playing a decisive role in Germany’s energy transi-tion,” said Donald Morrison, Managing Director and Vice President for Building and Infrastructure in Europe at Jacobs. “We bring solid technical and digital experience to the implementation of complex infrastructure projects such as SuedLink. We are delighted to be assisting TenneT and TransnetBW in this ground-breaking project dedicated to sustainability and the common good.”

Short coordination channels between the two developers and their CSP are crucial to this project. For this reason, the SuedLink site in Würzburg was opened in parallel to the commissioning of Jacobs. Further project offices will follow along the route corridor. A regional presence will make it easier to devise amicable solutions with the people affected locally and to take better account of regional expertise in planning.

Around 700 kilometres of underground cables are to be laid and about €10 billion invested as part of SuedLink. Once completed, the direct current cable will connect the windy region of northern Germany with consumption hubs in the south of the country. SuedLink is currently in the approval stage. The developers are TenneT and TransnetBW.

Jacobs is leading the way in providing solutions for a better networked and more sustainable world. With around $12 billion in revenue and more than 50,000 employees, Jacobs covers the entire spectrum of scientific and technical project management in building construction for companies, industry, governments and the infrastructure sector.

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