Bundesrat Passes Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks

In its session yesterday, the Bundesrat (Federal Council) did not object to the “Second Law Concerning Measures to Accelerate the Expansion of the Electricity Grids”, which contains the “Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks” as adopted by the Bundestag (Parliament) in late April. The bill aims to speed up planning and permitting procedures concerning grid expansion projects in the transmission grids. The new law can now enter into force after promulgation (certain exceptions apply).

The Federal Requirement Plan contains 36 transmission power line projects for which the bill stipulates the necessity and urgency in the sense of the Section 12e German Energy Act (EnWG) with binding effect for transmission operators and planning authorities. The precise routes of the power lines and installations like converters will be determined in the planning and permitting procedures. The bill makes the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig the only legal instance to decide on legal disputes concerning the 36 power line projects.

While the Bundesrat did not object, it passed a resolution that clarifies the Bundesrat’s understanding of the new law concerning requirements for individual locations and installations. Besides it states that the permitting authorities should have greater leeway regarding the technical execution of the individual power lines and advises the government to examine the need of amendments to the Federal Requirement Plan in view of Regulation EU No. 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure.

Furthermore, the Bundesrat also passed the so-called Planfeststellungszuweisungverordnung (PlfZV), which makes the Federal Network Agency the competent planning and permitting authority for transmission power line projects that cross the borders of the federal states and/or national borders and are contained in Annex 1 of the Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks. The Bundesrat had to consent to the ordinance as the respective authorities of the federal states are generally the competent planning and permitting authorities for power line projects on their territory pursuant to Section 43 EnWG et seq. By making BNetzA the one and only competent authority, the ordinance aims to speed up permitting procedures.

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