The extension of Germany‘s high-voltage (HV) grid, which is a fundamental part of the country’s ‘Energiewende’ or energy transition, has fallen even further behind schedule, says Bundesnetzagentur (BNA), the energy regulator.

According to BNA, more than half of the 24 most urgent grid expansion projects, identified under the German power grid expansion act, are now delayed by between one and five years.

The German government identified the 24 projects, which represent 1834 km in transmission lines, before its decision to phase-out nuclear power by 2022 and accelerate the push towards renewable power.

However, Germany’s post-Fukushima energy strategy, known as the Energiewende, has increased the need for a network extension as the country is having to cope with grid bottlenecks in moving electricity from wind power hubs in the north and the east to demand centres in the south and the west.

Only two of the 24 projects, representing 214 km, have been completed to-date, with BNA anticipating only another 35 km to be added by the end of this year.

Furthermore, Germany’s four transmission system operators – TenneT, Amprion, 50Hertz and TransnetBW (formerly EnBW Transportnetze) – are expect to have completed only around half of the 1834 km total by 2016.

Two extension projects, Lauchstadt-Redwitz and Redwitz-Grafenrheinfeld, which are seen as crucial to Germany’s bid to upgrade and extend the connection between the east and west of the country, are now expected to be delayed by another year.

The Redwitz-Grafenrheinfeld connection is now expected to be completed at the end of 2013 – initially planned for 2010 – with the Lauchstadt-Redwitz in 2017.

In May, Germany’s TSOs presented their first ten-year network development plan, which identified the need to build additional 3800 km in new HV lines to the 24 identified projects.

The Merkel government plans to pass a bill by the end of this year to fast-track network expansion projects.

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