Winter Electricity Grid Reserve Capacity for 2014/2015 Increased to 3,636 MW

The four transmission system operators 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT und TransnetBW have secured 3,636 MW winter reserve capacity, 545 MW more than the 3,091 MW originally determined in May.

This reserve capacity was contracted after consultation with the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). 3,091 MW are currently available, and a further 545 MW shall be available from January 2015.

This reserve capacity is intended to counter potentially arising critical grid situations, due to intermittent and not fully predictable renewable energy generation. Critical situations are most likely to occur in the winter, when re-dispatch potential and ordinary reserve capacity are exhausted.

For the calculation of the necessary back-up capacity,  the transmission grid operators and the Federal Network Agency look into potentially critical scenarios. The determination of necessary back-up capacity is the first step (laid down in § 3 ResKV) in the process of procuring reserve power plants for the winter. In a next step, the transmission system operators in principle procure the necessary reserve capacity according to § 4 ResKV, a procedure in which power plant operators can declare their interest to become a part of the grid capacity reserve.

For 2014/2015, the necessary reserve capacity was originally set at 3,091 MW for 2014/2015 in a determination of the Federal Network Agency of 2 May 2014. For 2015/2016, the need was determined to be 6,000 MW, for 2017/2018 7,000 MW.

The additional 545 MW for 2014/2015 are due to the closure of the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant, which is located in a potentially critical area of the grid. Even though Grafenrheinfeld shall only be closed by the end of 2015, the plant will reduce generation from January due to fuel rod tax related commercial considerations, hence the need for additional reserve capacity.

Source: TSOs via Amprion

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