Dr. Philipp Rösler, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, and Dr. Norbert Röttgen, Federal Environment Minister, met today with the Working Group on Acceleration to Optimise the Grid Connection of Offshore Wind Farms, in order to speed up the progress on connecting the offshore wind farms to the grid. The Working Group's proposals were presented and discussed at the meeting in the Federal Economics Ministry. The Working Group had been initiated by Minister Rösler in January.
The focus of today's meeting was on a series of major issues, such as measures to accelerate the connection of wind farms to the grid, liability and financing questions, and a possible systemic shift to a comprehensive, long-term offshore grid expansion plan. For the offshore industry, it is especially important to find an appropriate solution for the complex liability issue in the case of failure to provide the grid connection in time or of cable failure.
Minister Rösler commented: "The expansion of offshore wind power is a central element of our efforts to restructure Germany's energy supply. We will quickly scrutinise the proposals by the Acceleration Working Group and - as far as possible - implement them. With regard to the urgent question of the liability borne by grid operators, the Economics and Environment Ministries presented joint principles of a possible statutory arrangement today. We aim to produce draft legislation before the summer break. Here, it is crucial to strike a fair balance between all the parties. Solutions in which the burden is borne solely by the consumers are not an option. The transmission system operators and the wind farm operators must bear an appropriate part of the risk themselves."
Federal Environment Minister Röttgen stated:
"We have taken an important step forward in the implementation of our energy reforms. Here, the expansion of offshore wind power plays a key role. The comprehensive catalogue presented by the Acceleration Working Group provides a good basis on which to resolve the upcoming grid connection issues. The Federal Government will now put the legislation in place in order to regulate the outstanding liability questions in particular. Further to this, we are open to examining additional financial involvement of the KfW, also to cover grid expansion.This could help the TSOs to meet their statutory obligations to expand the grid."
The proposals made by the Acceleration Working Group are not directed solely to the Federal Government. In addition to the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, the Federal Network Agency and the planning and authorisation bodies of the Länder, there is also a need for industry to act, e.g. on standardisation. The Federal Ministers therefore call on all the stakeholders to play their part.
The Acceleration Working Group involves not only the Economics and Environment Ministries, but also the Federal Network Agency, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, TSOs, operators of offshore wind farms, the component supplier industry, and the insurance sector. The Working Group is headed by the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation.