Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

The Federal Cabinet today adopted the draft Act to accelerate the power grid expansion (NABEG revision) (in German) (PDF, 542KB). The aim of the draft Act is to accelerate the authorisation procedures for power grids as comprehensively as possible.

Federal Minister Altmaier said: “The power grids are the backbone of the energy transition. Unfortunately, we are still lagging behind on the grid expansion. This is partly due to the lengthy authorisation procedures. The revision aims to accelerate the procedures without lowering environmental standards – e.g. on the protection against electrical and magnetic fields. The public also continues to be involved comprehensively and at an early stage.”

The draft Act aims to better link various planning stages, shorten deadlines, delete unnecessary procedural steps and strengthen simplified procedures. For instance, when an existing power line is to be replaced by a new, more efficient one at the same place, the large-scale search for an adequate route corridor in the context of the federal sectoral planning is often not necessary. In such cases, federal sectoral planning will in the future no longer be mandatory. In addition, it will become easier for the Länder to dispense with the spatial planning procedure in such cases. All interests of citizens will then be examined in a targeted manner in the context of the planning approval procedure.

The draft Act aims to make the power grids fit for the future developments of the energy transition at an early stage: grid operators will be enabled to plan in a forward-looking way, including empty conduits in their planning. Power lines can then easily be pulled through the conduits when grids need to be expanded in the course of the energy transition. This saves time and money and protects the environment and residents.

Farmers and foresters are particularly affected by the grid expansion. Therefore, the draft Act creates a reliable legal framework for the compensation of farmers and foresters that will apply throughout the country. The amount of compensation will be raised slightly. Farmers and foresters who reach an amicable settlement with the respective grid operators within eight weeks will also receive a higher acceleration bonus. This contributes to increasing public acceptance and further accelerating the grid expansion. The compensation rules will apply only to specific expansion projects that are particularly urgent.