Article on German Legal Regime for High Voltage Direct Current Power Lines

New high voltage direct current power lines can help to transmit electricity over long distances with relatively low transmission losses. My new article published in the law journal “Recht der Energiewirtschaft” (RdE – in German) assesses technical and legal aspects of constructing HVDC power lines in Germany.

Germany needs to expand its distribution and transmission grids to accommodate the growing input of renewable energy. This is particularly the case for on- and offshore wind power generated in Northern Germany and consumed to a large extent in the industrial areas in Western and Southern Germany.

The article describes the legal regime under the German Energy Act (EnWG), the Energy Line Extension Act (EnLAG) of 2009 and the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act for Transmission Networks (NABEG) of 2011, their individual scopes and interplay. It also deals with the legal and factual aspects regarding the environmental impact of overhead and underground high voltage direct current power lines, immissions (noise due to corona discharge) and electromagnetic fields. Overhead direct current lines can in certain cases have considerable advantages over AC overhead power lines.

Of the 36 transmission power line projects contained in the “Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks” (for more information, please click here), which was adopted by Parliament this month, 8 projects are marked as possible pilot projects for low loss transmission over large distances, allowing the grid operators to test this technology.

Source: Recht der Energiewirtschaft, vol. 4-5 2013, page 145 et seq.

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