Is NordLink worthwhile for Nortorf?

The transformation substation of NordLink is located in Nortorf in the Steinburg district of Schleswig-Holstein. KfW Stories has discussed with Mayor Manfred Boll the role the project plays for the community.

About Mr Boll
Manfred Boll

Mayor Manfred Boll is actually a retired farmer. But he still milks 20 cows every day.

Tiny Nortorf with a population of 861 is something of an electricity capital. NordLink is not the only thing at your front door. The SuedLink cable soon to transport wind power to southern Germany also starts here.

MANFRED BOLL: That's true, we have the energy transition right here. I was able to track progress throughout construction on the substation from my house. Something was going on every day.

The new substation complex is huge. A new power line is on its way. Doesn't this bother you?

Once finished, this type of substation is quiet and has no emissions. In the fall when the air is humid, sometimes the lines crackle. But other than that we don't notice anything. Oystercatchers even nest there; they aren't normally found here at all. They brood between the lines because the crows don't dare to go over there, and they normally steal from the nests.

Are you satisfied with the project as mayor?

It has hardly any impacts on our community. We will have one more line and the station will be larger. That might not be nice for the scenery, but we have lived with this fact for 40 years since the first atomic power plants were built here. We all want the energy transition. In for a penny, in for a pound. If we want to change things, that comes with a price. We should by all means view all developments with a critical eye, but that can often be taken too far.

“We all want the energy transition. If we want to change things, that comes with a price.”

Manfred Boll, Mayor of Nortorf

NordLink wire in Büsum

The NordLink cable connects the German and Norwegian energy markets. KfW Stories has accompanied the mammoth project - from the Svartevatn dam through Nortorf to Lehrte.

Read more

Has NordLink created new jobs in the community?

Regional companies were involved during the construction phase. TenneT now manages operation of the substation from Lehrte.

How has NordLink benefited Nortorf financially?

We receive trade tax. The wind power stations are worthwhile for those who own the land; they receive rent. But we have founded a civic trust into which the wind millers voluntarily pay, and all our citizens benefit from that. We use the funds to promote sports clubs, our kindergarten, environmental protection measures, the fire brigade and foster some local traditions.

Do the citizens of the town ever speak out against the changes?

Many say that the wind turbines break up the scenery. But we also had small windmills in the past to drain the land here. They have been replaced with electrical pumps and now we have the wind power plants. Hence, no, there aren't any citizen's initiatives or anything like that.

Published on KfW Stories: 8 September 2020.