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The topping out ceremony for the structural work of the new substation in Berlin-Britz took place on Wednesday, 12 June 2013, marking the end of a construction period that lasted around 14 months. Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, the operator of the capital's electricity grid, marked the occasion by inviting politicians, residents of the Neukölln district and companies involved in the new build to judge the result for themselves and take a tour. The Britz substation, which is costing the grid operator around €28 million to build, is to supply electricity to some 25,000 domestic customers and 1,400 business customers following its completion in October 2014. The substation is equipped with state-of-the-art switching and control technology, and, as a result, it will help lower the risk of power failures in the south of Berlin; moreover, if a power failure does occur, the power can be restored very quickly since the plant is integrated into the central control system of the Berlin electricity grid.
"As we strive to make Berlin more attractive as an economic and scientific centre, a safe and reliable electricity supply will continue to gain importance," stressed Dr Helmar Rendez, Chair of the Management Board at Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, in his welcoming speech on the occasion of the topping off ceremony. "As a grid operator, we take our responsibilities seriously and that's why we ensure that all of our projects align with urban development requirements and the needs of our customers," continues Rendez.
The linchpin of the new substation is the gas-insulated, and therefore extremely space-saving, high-voltage switchgear from Alstom, which controls the electricity of the 110,000-volt voltage level. "A project like the Britz substation, which is carried out in an inner-city district, always presents a particular kind of challenge, and it is one that we have gladly taken on with our team. We are proud of what we and our partners have achieved," says Axel Kossmann, Country Sales Director Germany at Alstom Grid GmbH. "We look forward to launching this project to the complete satisfaction of our customers." In addition to supplying all of the switchgears, protection technology and control technology, as the prime contractor, Alstom Grid is also responsible for the complete, read-to-use new build of the 110,000 to 10,000 V substation.
The new build in Britz is not the only infrastructure project that the Berlin electricity grid operator is involved in this year: Also being undertaken is a range of other grid expansion measures this year, including the replacement of around 250 m of cables, the extensive redevelopment of the substation at the Reuter power station and the ongoing automation of the medium-voltage grid. Stromnetz Berlin GmbH is spending some €280 million in 2013 alone on this project and others like it with a view to expanding and preserving the capital's distribution grid.
Topping out ceremony at the Britz substation The apertures where the transformers will later be inserted can be seen on the right-hand side of the building.