BMWi and BMU Want to Accelerate Grid Connection for Offshore Wind

In another attempt to speed up the grid connection of offshore wind farms to reach the government’s target for offshore wind power (25,000 MW in 2030), the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMU) held talks with the new Working Group for the Acceleration of the Grid Connection of Offshore Wind Farms, discussing proposals put forward by the working group.

The talks focused on a number of issues like measures to accelerate grid connection of offshore wind farms, liability and financing issues as well as the possibility of a new comprehensive long-term offshore grid expansion plan, the ministries said in a joint press release. A solution for the complex questions of liability in case of delayed grid connection and cable failures was of particular importance for the industry, they added.

The new Section 17 para. 2a German Energy Act – EnWG that was included as part of the energy legislative package adopted last year (German energy policy shift) already stipulates in sentence no. 3 that the Federal Agency for Maritime Shipping and Hydrography (BSH) in cooperation with the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) and BMU sets up an offshore grid development plan that identifies plants which are suited for a cluster connection. Section 17 para. 1 EnWG provides that the operator of the transmission grid in whose grid area an offshore wind power plant shall be connected has to lay and operate connecting cables from the transformer station of the plant to the technically and economically most favourable grid connection point of the nearest transmission or distribution network. The second half of Section 17 para. 2a sent. 1 stipulates that the grid connection has to be established at the time of the technical operability of the offshore wind installations. This has given rise to questions regarding liability.

Minister Philipp Rösler (BMWi) reiterated that offshore wind energy was a cornerstone of the new energy policy. The ministries would speedily review the working group’s proposals and – if possible – implement them, he said, adding that the ministries had drafted a key point paper for legal provisions regarding the pressing issue of liability (not released yet). A bill shall be presented before the parliamentary summer recess. Mr Rösler pointed out that it was vital to come to a fair sharing of responsibilities of all parties. A solution at the expense of consumers was not an option he said. Transmission system operators and wind farm operators alike had to bear a fair share of the risk themselves.

Apart from proposals addressed to the government, the working group also made proposals addressed to BSH, the public authority that grants offshore wind farm permits, BNetzA, planning and permitting authorities of the federal states, as well as the industry (with regard to standardization issues). Ministers Rösler and Röttgen (BMU) asked all stakeholders to play their part.

The Working Group for the Acceleration of the Grid Connection of Offshore Wind Farms consists of representatives of BMWi and BMU, as well as of BNetzA, BSH, operators of offshore wind farms, suppliers and the insurance industry. The working group is lead by Stiftung Offshore-Windenergie (Offshore Wind Energy Foundation).

Both ministers were open for reviewing the possibilities of further funding for offshore wind farms by Germany’s the state-owned KfW Development Bank, a short videao clip accompaning the BMWi/BMU press release says.

Source: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

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