TSOs and Trade Associations Propose System Change Regarding Connection of Offshore Wind Farms

The transmission system operators TenneT TSO GmbH and 50Hertz Transmission GmbH as well as the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and two offshore wind associations have outlined key points for a new legal system that shall solve Germany’s current problem regarding the timely connection of offshore wind farms.

Currently Section 17 para. 2a sent. 1 EnWG (German Energy Act) stipulates in its second half that the grid connection has to be established at the time of the technical operability of the offshore wind installations. This has proven to be difficult in practice and given rise to questions regarding liability, as grid connection for a number of wind farms is behind schedule. Recently the two competent ministries have issued a joint press release highlighting key items for a future liability regime for offshore wind farm grid connection and an offshore grid development plan.

The above-mentioned institutions propose to replace Section 17 para. 2a sent. 1 second half by mandatory long-term planning for grid connection. To this end an offshore grid plan shall stipulate in a binding way at what time which grid connection has to be completed. The offshore grid plan shall be coordinated with the (onshore) Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks (Bundesbedarfsplan Übertragungsnetze) pursuant to Section 12e EnWG. The first Bundesbedarfsplan is still in the legislative process. So the associations suggest to apply the new offshore grid planning regime already when setting up the first Bundesbedarfsplan.

Once a year offshore wind developers shall have the possibility to apply for grid connection. Subsequently, the Federal Network Agency and the Federal Agency for Maritime Shipping and Hydrography (BSH) shall decide about the application based on criteria like the current status of the plan determination procedure or the date of the permit. Grandfathering rules for existing projects shall apply.

Source: BDEW

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