Karte Deutschland und Österreich zur Engpassbewirtschaftung an der deutsch-österreichischen Grenze.

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The Federal Network Agency and the Austrian regulatory authority E-Control have agreed on managing the electricity transport capacities at the German-Austrian border. The congestion management shall be effective as of 1 October 2018.

Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: “This is a good day for German electricity consumers and the European electricity trade. The solution agreed between the regulators for the German-Austrian border will save German consumers several hundred million euros per year. The Federal Network Agency and the European regulatory authority, ACER, have already been pointing out for some time now that the joint bidding zone with Austria is causing costly grid problems for Germany and several other neighbouring countries. The regulatory authorities of both countries have now found a good solution that will ease our network and that of our neighbours and strengthen the European internal market. I would like to thank Mr Homann and his team, and colleagues from E-Control for their excellent work.”

The agreement reached between the regulators will now be discussed with the relevant neighbours and the European Commission.

The fact that electricity capacities at the German-Austrian border have not been managed so far is unique in Europe. 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, trade volumes have continued to grow and Austrian traders are now often buying much more electricity in Germany than trans-national lines would be able to transport. In order to avoid grid bottlenecks, power plants have to be ramped down in Germany and ramped up in Austria. Such measures are expensive, totalling hundreds of millions of euros per year, and German electricity consumers bear their costs.

The agreement between the regulatory authorities ensures that the actual grid capacities will be taken into account in future German-Austrian electricity trading. This is in line with the rules already in place between all other neighbouring European countries. At the same time, the agreement strengthens the European single market for electricity. Ring flows that are the result of the common German-Austrian price zone had also aggravated the grid situation in several neighbouring countries. As a result, the European regulatory authority, ACER, had also called for an introduction of congestion management at the German-Austrian border. The current solution ensures that all borders with our neighbours are handled in the same way, thereby optimising the flow of electricity throughout the region.

You can find out more about current German energy policy in the fortnightly Newsletter "Energiewende direkt".