The has called on the four German transmission system operators to prepare for management of the electricity transport capacities at the German-Austrian border. These preparatory measures are to be taken with a view to ensuring that functioning congestion management can be delivered from 3 July 2018.
State Secretary Rainer Baake from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said: "The congestion management will ensure that the amount of electricity traded between Germany and Austria corresponds to the amount that can actually be transported between the two countries. This is in line with the system at all our other borders. It has no effect on the internal market in electricity. The measure involves a separation of the bidding zones, not of the markets, because Germany is explicitly committed to Europe's internal market in electricity. Congestion management only restricts the trade in electricity in exceptional situations in which the volume of trade exceeds the transport capacities at the border."
Germany's introduction of congestion management at the German-Austrian border by summer 2018 responds to calls from other neighbouring countries and to the recommendation by ACER, the European regulatory authority.
The joint German-Austrian bidding zone no longer matches current needs. The arrangement with Austria derives from a time when the quantities of traded electricity were much smaller and could easily be handled by the grids. However, the traded volumes have now risen considerably, because - particularly when there is a lot of wind and sun - electricity from Germany is cheaper than electricity from Austria. The quantities traded then exceed the transport capacities. As a consequence, the output of power stations in the north of Germany has to be curtailed, whilst power stations in Austria are ramped up in order to avoid grid congestion. Whilst the traders in Austria profit in such circumstances from the single bidding zone, the costs are borne by the consumers in Germany and the neighbouring countries. The congestion management will counteract this development.