Advisory Committee Grid Expansion Acceleration Act

The NABEG advisory committee has been established. The committee consists of representatives of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the government and the federal states. It shall advise BNetzA on issues of fundamental importance relating to the “Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks” (Bundesbedarfsplan Übertragungsnetze), federal planning for transmission networks and subsequent plan determination procedures.

The committee has been established pursuant to Section 32 para. 1 Grid Expansion Acceleration Act for Transmission Networks (NABEG). Grid expansion of transmission as well as distribution networks had been identified as most critical to bring about the energy policy shift away from nuclear power towards a renewable energy supply Germany decided on last year. So far many power line projects are delayed because they cross the borders of federal states so that under German law permitting procedures in each of the states involved have to be completed. NABEG aims at accelerating grid expansion with a variety of measures, one being the new advisory committee.

According to Chancellor Merkel the law on the Bundesbedarfsplan shall be adopted by the end of the year. Currently the grid development plan drafted by the transmission system operators (TSOs) – that shall serve as a basis for the Bundesbedarfsplan – is up for public consultation. With the adoption of the Federal Requirement Plan (Section 12e para. 4 EnWG – German Energy Act) 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 NABEG provisions.

For those transmission system projects included in the Bundesbedarfsplan, which cross the borders of the federal states and/or national borders, the power line routes will be determined by federal planning and are insofar decisive for the subsequent individual plan determination procedures for the power line projects (Section 4 NABEG). Federal transmission system planning is being carried out by BNetzA (Section 31 para. 1 NABEG). Pursuant to Section 31 para.2 NABEG, the plan determination procedures are conducted by the respective authorities of the federal states, unless an ordinance, which has to be approved by the Federal Council (that represents the interests of the federal states), confers the competence to BNetzA. According to the Federal Ministry of Economics, the government is in negotiations with the federal states if and under what conditions they are prepared to approve such ordinance.

The new advisory committee shall provide ongoing advice with regard to the above matters and the expansion of the transmission networks needed to accomplish the Energiewende, helping to detect the planning concerns of the federal states at an early stage so that they can be taken into account in federal planning. According to the preamble to NABEG, the advisory committee shall not discuss individual power line projects but give a more general input, BNetzA points out.

Source: Federal Network Agency

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