19 Jun 2024, 11:54
Julian Wettengel

Abolishing priority for underground power lines in Germany could save billions – energy industry

Clean Energy Wire

Allowing several key electricity transmission lines to be built above ground, as well as improved planning to connect offshore wind parks to the shore, could drastically reduce Germany's investment needs to transform its energy system in the coming decades, said energy industry association BDEW. If the country were to abolish the underground priority for three major cross-country power lines currently in the planning phase (DC 40, DC 41, DC42), and ensure more effective offshore wind power buildout, it could save investments "in the mid double-digit billion-euro range" in the long term. "For the energy transition to be successful, we need to keep an eye on costs," said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae. "In the future, it will be more important than ever to make use of all efficiency potentials." Other transmission projects, including SuedLink, SuedOstLink and NordOstLink, should continue to be built underground, said BDEW.

BDEW said that 721 billion euros in investment is necessary by 2030 – 131 billion euros for grid modernisation and expansion alone – to reduce climate-harmful emissions and lessen the German system's dependence on imported fossil fuels. To increase acceptance among the population, the government had decided to lay several electricity transmission lines below ground. The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) also recently said that using overhead power lines for Germany's necessary grid expansion up to 2045 could save as much as 35 billion euros in investments.

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