Germany’s grid network is going to face a bill for €20bn to build the extra 4000 km of new network lines that will be needed to accommodate the renewable power it wants to bring online to replace nuclear.

That was the estimate of Christian Nabe, head of power systems and markets at energy consultancy Ecofys, when he spoke at a security of supply conference at POWER-GEN Europe yesterday.

Yet he added that this was small change compared to the €13bn that Germany pays annually in support to wind and solar – the very industries driving the need for the network upgrade.

He said Germany was suffering from great uncertainty in its energy industry: “Germany has a lot of balls in the air. We have a lot of pressure to do something on one hand, but we don’t really know what to do.”

He added that talk in Germany of a capacity market was all very well, but “prices fixed under a capacity market need to be good for 30 years… what government do you know that is going to do that?”

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