transmission tower

© iStock.com/Aryut

Today, the Federal Network Agency completed the Federal Sectoral Planning for the first section of the “Ultranet” power line. This is the first time it has set the course for one of the five major power highways from North to South.

Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier said: “Today, we have defined a route corridor and therefore taken an important step in the expansion of the major power highways. But we must not leave it at that. So much remains to be done. Only by rapidly expanding the grid can we ensure that wind power from the North Sea will reach a car plant in Baden-Württemberg. Because I want our electric cars to run on German batteries and green electricity. This is good for the climate and good for our wallets.”

“Ultranet” is one of the five high-voltage direct current transmission lines, i.e. the large power highways. The line runs from Osterath in North Rhine-Westphalia to Philippsburg in Baden-Württemberg. The goal is to transport wind power produced in northern Germany to southern Germany. The project is the first in Germany to combine a direct current line with an alternating current line on the same pylons. The so-called “Ultranet” hybrid line is to be commissioned in 2023.

The completed Federal Sectoral Planning applies for the section between Riedstadt in Hesse and Mannheim-Wallstadt in Baden-Württemberg. The approval of the four remaining sections is to follow shortly.

The Federal Network Agency uses Federal Sectoral Planning to define a 500 to 1,000 metre wide route corridor - a decision that is based on a detailed assessment of the spatial and environmental compatibility. The public is closely involved in the process, for example in the application conferences. A planning approval procedure follows the Federal Sectoral Planning. It is only then that the exact course of the power line within the route corridor is determined. The public is closely involved in this procedure, too.

In 2018, Federal Economic Affairs Minister Altmaier presented the Electricity Grid Action Plan in order to further accelerate the optimisation and expansion of electricity grids in the future. In December, the Federal Cabinet also launched the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (NABEG) 2.0. This will streamline procedures and enable network operators to plan ahead in a forward-looking way, including empty conduits. 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.

For more information on “Ultranet”, please visit: www.netzausbau.de/leitungsvorhaben/bbplg/02/de.html (in german).

You can find the NABEG draft (in German) here.
You can find the Electricity Grid Action Plan (in German) here.