Chancellor Merkel: Grid Development Plan to Become Law by End of Year

In an interview with Rheinische Post (RP), chancellor Angela Merkel said the government planned to present a bill on the national grid development plan at the beginning of June and wanted the bill to become effective by the end of the year.

Grid expansion and grid enhancement has been identified as a bottleneck for implementing last year’s energy policy shift away from nuclear power towards a renewable energy supply. Especially the government’s target to install 25,000 MW in offshore wind power capacity by 2030 requires grid expansion in order to transmit wind power from the North and Baltic Sea to consumers in the industrial regions of Southern and Western Germany.

According to last year’s revision of the German Energy Act (EnWG) in connection with the energy policy shift, a 10-year grid development plan has to be set up annually by the transmission system operators (TSOs) pursuant to Section 12b para. 1 sent. 1 and 2 EnWG. The plan shall provide information regarding the need for optimising and reinforcing the grid as well as its expansion. For 2012 the plan has to be submitted to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the network regulator, by 3 June 2012, hence the time Mrs Merkel mentioned. Section 12c EnWG stipulates the conditions under which the BNetzA approves the plan. It does not say when exactly this has to happen. The approved 10-year grid development plan has to be handed over to the federal legislator at least every three years. It shall serve as a draft for the “Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks” (Bundesbedarfsplan Übertragungsnetze – Section 12e EnWG). With the adoption of the Federal Requirement Plan (Section 12e para. 4 EnWG) the necessity and urgency of the projects included for an energy supply in accordance with the EnWG (see in particular Section 1 EnWG) is determined. The determinations are binding for TSOs as well as the plan determination procedures and planning permit procedures pursuant to a number of provisions of the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act for Transmission Networks (NABEG).

Mrs Merkel’s comment seems to indicate that the government wants to have the first federal electricity grid requirement plan adopted by the end of the year. This seems ambitious in view of the fact that the TSOs only have to submit their draft for a grid development plan by 3 June 2012, but would surely be one way to give investors in large electricity infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms more planning security and should help to secure financing.

Source: Rheinische Post

Related posts: