Administrative Office for Future Proof Network Platform

The Ministry for Economics and Technology (BMWi) has set up a special office for the Future Proof Network Platform (Plattform Zukunftsfähige Netze).

The platform “Future Proof Networks and System Security” (Zukunftsfähige Netze und Systemsicherheit) was founded last year. According to the federal government’s 10-Point Immediate Action Program which lists the ten most pressing issues of the Energy Concept, it shall be made a permanent institution.

The platform shall provide a forum for all parties concerned such as network operators, environmental groups, electricity producers and the federal states to develop strategies to tackle the challenges presented by grid expansion. Working groups are looking into the following matters:

  • Social acceptance of grid expansion
  • Investment conditions
  • Support schemes for and testing of new technologies
  • Interconnection of offshore wind farms
  • Maintaining network security

It is noteworthy that the BMWi press release names social acceptance first. As other major projects like the renovation and expansion project concerning the main train station in Stuttgart (Stuttgart 21) have come under heavy criticism by residents and the political opposition, politicians nationwide have expressed the need to carry out major infrastructure projects in Germany by engaging in a dialogue with all parties concerned. 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 energy into the grid.

As part of the 10-Point Immediate Action Program, the government shall also create the relevant provisions for coherent, nationwide grid expansion planning. A ten-year grid upgrade plan will in future be coordinated between all grid operators to lay a binding foundation for grid expansion planning. In addition, the government will amend the relevant provisions of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) to facilitate the collective connection of wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas to the grid (cluster connections) and to exempt new storage power plants, and in particular pumped storage power plants and other power storage, from grid charges.

Source: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

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