Minister Brüderle Calls Grid Expansion Essential to Preserving Energy Security

Grid expansion has top priority, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Rainer Brüderle said again at the presentation of a monitoring report on energy security yesterday. The report shows that energy security in Germany is high compared with other European countries. Still, grid expansion is essential to avoid grid congestion as of 2015 due to an increasing input of renewable energy.

Pursuant to Section 51 EnWG (German Energy Act) and Directive 2003/54/EC, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) is obliged to submit a monitoring report on energy security to the European Commission in two year intervals. The report is based on an expert opinion compiled by Consentec, a consulting agency for the energy industry from Aachen, in cooperation with the Energy Institute at the University of Cologne (EWI) and the Institute of Power Systems and Power Economics (IAEW) at the RWTH University Aachen. Data for the opinion cover the period from June 2009 to March 2010.

Findings for the generation sector show that after the recent extension of the operating times of the German nuclear power plants, there is enough peak load capacity until at least 2020. Without the extension, this would have only been the case until 2015, the BMWi press release points out.

However, the report shows the need for action with regard to grid expansion. Minister Brüderle said: “The report confirms once more that grid expansion and system stability must have top priority to ensure energy security. Only if grid expansion plans can be implemented in time, grid congestion can be avoided until 2015. Hence, the report confirms the recent political decisions to promote grid expansion. I am thinking of the forum on grid expansion that BMWi has created. Now, we have to keep up the momentum.”

In its latest grid study, dena, the German Energy Agency, said 3,600 km of new extra high voltage lines would have to be built until 2020/2025. As Minister Brüderle pointed out at a recent industry conference, the greatest problem for grid expansion is public acceptance. In December, Forum Grid Integration (Forum Netzintegration), a working group comprising representatives of the industry, environmental groups and public authorities presented its “Plan N” containing political action recommendations allowing an integration of renewable energies sources. This goes to show that the topic is high on the political agenda.

Source: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

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