BSH Publishes Update of Federal Offshore Plan for German EEZ in the North Sea

The Federal Agency for Maritime Shipping and Hydrography (BSH) has published an update of the Federal Offshore Plan (Bundesfachplan Offshore) for the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the North Sea (BFO-N). The update contains minor changes concerning power line routes and locations of installations. Besides it reduces the required depth of cover for power cables including in traffic separation areas (Verkehrstrennungsgebieten) in the EEZ from 3 metres to 1.5 metres, BSH said.

1. Information Concerning the Update

In accordance with spatial planning, the planning period for BFO-N is 20 to 30 years. BFO-N sets out a coherent planning area that stretches up to shipping route 10 of the regional plan (Raumordnungsplan). As in the past it comprises 13 clusters for wind farms with an estimated total capacity of 20 GW plus the grid connection installations so that the long-term goals for offshore wind can be reached, BSH points out. As background: With the 2014 amendment of Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2014) the offshore goals were reduced to 6.5 GW by 2020 and 15 GW by 2030, cf. Section 3 no. 2 EEG 2014.

An extension of a ban on development (Veränderungssperre) published on the same day as BFO-N shall reserve areas for grid infrastructure, making sure that further clusters for offshore wind power plants can be included in BFO-N if the need arises.

BFO-N sets out the clusters for the offshore wind parks and the necessary grid connection, i.e. the routes for power line cables and the locations of converter platforms. For the coming years BFO-N secures the land needed for up to 25 converter platforms and up to 2,500 km of extra-high voltage lines, BSH highlighted.

The reduction of the depth of cover for power line systems was the result of extensive field tests by BSH, the Federal Waterways and Shipping Authority, the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute and the transmission system operator responsible for the North Sea (Tennet TSO), BSH said.

2. General Information

Pursuant to Section 17a German Energy Act (EnWG), BSH has to issue and annually update separate federal plans (Bundesfachpläne) for the offshore grids in the German Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in the North and Baltic Sea. The plans specify and supplement maritime planning with regard to the planning of offshore grids.

Based on the offshore grid plans by BSH the German transmission operators have to draft an offshore grid development plan (called O-NEP) each year, which has to be approved by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA, cf. Section 17b German Energy Act (EnWG). The plan has to provide information on the measures considered necessary for optimizing, reinforcing and expanding the offshore grids to ensure safe and reliable operation in line with demand over the next ten years. At least every three years BNetzA has to submit O-NEP together with the onshore grid development plan (NEP) to the federal legislator (cf. Section 12e para. 1 sent. 1 EnWG). They serve as drafts for the “Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks” (Bundesbedarfsplan Übertragungsnetze; regarding the first such plan, please see here).

Source: BSH

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