Offshore Grid Development Plan 2013 and Electricity Grid Development Plan 2013

In accordance with the German Energy Act, the four German transmission operators (TSOs) have presented drafts of the Electricity Grid Development Plan (NEP 2013) and the first Offshore Grid Development Plan (O-NEP 2013), starting the first consultation procedure. The plans provide information on all the measures and steps for an optimisation, enhancement and expansion of the on- and offshore grids, which in the opinion of the TSOs are needed to ensure a safe and reliable operation of the grids over the next ten years, i.e. until 2023, giving also an outlook until 2033.

The NEPs do not describe individual power line routes, but the measures suitable under the given the technical, economical and regional parameters to connect the expected offshore capacity to the onshore grids and to meet the transmission needs between onshore grid connection points in regions with an excess of energy (mostly in the North of Germany) and regions with a high demand (mostly in Southern and Western Germany), the TSOs point out.

NEP 2013 uses NEP 2012 as a starting point, mainly examining the lead scenario B 2022 further and extrapolating it to 2023. Though many assumptions of NEP 2012 were confirmed, the TSOs have identified the following three factors that lead to changes of the transmission needs compared with NEP 2012:

  • an increase of the offshore wind generation by 1.1 GW,
  • a higher onshore wind power generation in Northern Germany (1.8 GW), and
  • the need to reduce unwanted loop flows with neighbouring Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic (2 GW).

Hence about 5 GW of additional power have to be transmitted within from the North to the South of Germany, the TSOs say.

According to the lead scenario B 2023, grid enhancements and optimisation measures for existing power lines with a length of 4,400 km are deemed necessary, plus new AC power lines with a length of 1,700 km and 2,100 km of HVDC power lines. The four North-South DC power line corridors should have a capacity of 12 GW in total, the TSOs say. They advise a change from AC power lines to DC power lines on a length of 300 km. The investment needed to modernise and expand the transmission grids will be roughly EUR 21 billion, the TSOs estimate.

The offshore grid development plan (O-NEP) is based on the first federal offshore grid plan (Bundesfachplan Offshore) for the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the North Sea recently presented by Federal Agency for Maritime Shipping and Hydrography (BSH). It links offshore grid expansion with onshore grid expansion.

According to scenario B 2023, 2,150 km of new power lines are needed:

  • 1,720 km of DC grid connection systems  (1,125 km HVDC lines and 595 km of AC connectors) in the North Sea, and
  • 430 km of AC grid connection systems (370 km AC power lines and 60 km of AC connectors) in the Baltic Sea.

The total capacity of the offshore grid required in 2023 amounts to 6.4 GW, with

  • 5,4 GW in the North Sea, and
  • 1.0 GW in the Baltic Sea.

The investment required will be approximately EUR 22 billion. This includes EUR 12 billion for the so-called “offshore starter grid” (Start-Offshorenetz), the TSOs say.

Comments on NEP 2013 and O-NEP 2013 can be made until 14 April 2013. Foll0wing this first consultation period the drafts will be updated. The amended drafts shall be published in summer 2013.

Source: Website Netzentwicklungsplan Strom

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Source: Netzentwicklungsplan.de NEP 2013, First Draft of Offshore Grid Development Plan 2013