transmission tower

© iStock.com/Aryut

At the fourth meeting of Energy Ministers, representatives of the Länder are today discussing the progress being made in the expansion of the electricity grids. In 2019, significant progress has been made in the expansion of the electricity grids. Since the end of October, electricity has been transmitted through the important new line over the Elbe river (Elbekreuzung 2) connecting Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. The transmission capacity has quadrupled at this key network node. Further grid expansion projects have been significantly advanced thanks to the simplification of the procedure in the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act 2 (NABEG 2), a reduction in bureaucracy and resolute action by grid operators and authorities.

Federal Minister Altmaier said: “This year, we have taken major steps to advance grid expansion, and further steps must follow. This summer, we reached an important agreement on the tri-Länder area of Bavaria, Hesse and Thuringia. In the north of Germany, we also took a significant step by commissioning the new line over the Elbe river. And I expect that further major progress will be made in the coming half-year. The Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) is expected to decide on federal sectoral planning for the three electricity highways SuedLink, SuedOstLink and Ultranet by summer 2020. This is important since the approximate routes of these key projects between north and south Germany will by then have been laid down and the planning approval procedures can then start quickly.”

The German power grid needs to be comprehensively expanded, strengthened and optimised. The grid expansion projects based on the Power Grid Expansion Act and the Federal Requirements Plan Act cover around 7,700 km. This summer, the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Energy Ministers of the Länder agreed on timetables and milestones for each grid expansion project with the transmission system operators and introduced a controlling system for grid expansion. The next step is to extend the controlling to include the offshore connection lines so as to be able to integrate 20 gigawatts of offshore capacities into the German grid by 2030.

Apart fom grid expansion, the Federal Government's 2030 Climate Action Programme is also being discussed at the meeting of Energy Ministers.