German consumers face $8.9bn power transmission bill

Angela Merkel’s German government says the cost of expanding the country’s power transmission lines underground will amount to around $8.9bn.

Following protests against the original plans to expand the grid over ground with new power lines, the government opted in July to modernise existing pylons and bring much of the power from the windy north to the industrial south through expanding the grid underground.
Horst Seehofer and Merkel

The federal network agency had planned to build three high-voltage direct-current transmission lines in order to facilitate a key aspect of the government’s Energiewende policy, in encouraging more renewable power.

The urgency of the strategy has been heightened by the shutting down of nuclear power plants that had been the prime sources of energy for the industrial areas.

The conflict escalated when Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer bowed to public concern and publicly revoked his support for the grid expansion.

The costs for building and operating the electricity grid are normally passed on to consumers in Germany. At the same time, the agreed underground cabling could lower overall costs in the medium-term by reducing local protests and speeding up construction of the power lines, the ministry added.

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