Consultation begins on $59bn German power grid expansion

Germany’s grid regulator, BNetzA, has published its response to the measures proposed by the country’s four national grid operators as the government looks to formulate its 2030 power grid expansion plan.

The German grid is currently struggling to deal with the extent of renewable and distributed energy in the country and many major power projects are on hold while the government attempts to adapt the grid to the new demands being placed upon it.
The measures by the four operators add up to a cost of Eur50bn($59bn) to boost power transmission capacity sufficiently for the major changes to Germany’s energy landscape expected over the next decade.

“We are investigating which new lines are needed in the transmission network by 2030,” BNetzA president Jochen Homann said. “Based on our preliminary investigation all projects included in the federal grid plan are still needed. Now, it is important to carefully weigh how to deal with the other challenges that arise in the power grid of the future.”

According to the regulator’s 289-page initial response to the NEP 2030’s second draft, all 60 proposed TSO measures that are also included in the federal plan are set for confirmation, while of the further 160 grid improvement measures proposed only 90 are currently considered to receive confirmation.

This means, all 2,150 km of new HVDC cable projects have a positive outlook, while some 2,250 km of the proposed 5,750 km of AC line improvements are not at the moment considered for confirmation, according to Platts

The TSOs proposed not to add any further major HVDC projects, but rather improve conventional AC grid infrastructure, the regulator said.

The regulator added, in its statement, that there could be technological changes by 2030 that could reduce the demand for further grid expansion.

As a trend, however, there is expected to be higher demand for additional transmission capacity as this is linked to the expansion of renewables.

According to the regulator, the various scenarios in the national grid development plan are in line with current government policy as well as consideration of developments in the storage, heat and transport sectors.

One of the chief motives of the plan is to resolve a north south imbalance of power, with the deficit in the south of the country up to half the annual demand and the oversupply in the north twice the annual demand, thereby showing the need for more transmission capacity.

Plans to reduce this imbalance include an additional 6 GW of north-south DC links.

Demand for offshore grid links was analyzed in a separate plan (O-NEP 2030) with the regulator indicating approval for two additional grid link projects for the North and Baltic Sea by 2030 to match the governments offshore wind farm capacity target of 15 GW by 2030, it said.

Delays have been caused by community opposition to overhead transmission lines which forced the government to introduce laws to bring the lines required underground.

Details of the draft as well as the initial response by the regulator can be seen atà‚ 

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