21 Jun 2024, 11:42
Jennifer Collins

Collapsed German buyout of Dutch grid operator TenneT bad news for energy transition – opinions

Clean Energy Wire / Wirtschaftswoche / taz / Reuters

Berlin has ditched plans to buy the German business of Dutch electricity grid operator TenneT after tough negotiations, citing stretched public finances. Opinion pieces in taz and Wirtschaftswoche both said the decision was a negative signal for Germany's green energy transition because it would further delay the grid expansion fundamental to bringing more wind and solar power online.  

TenneT is one of four transmission network operators in the country and is responsible for a large part of the extra-high voltage grid in northern, central and southern Germany. It is also one of the operators of parts of the north-south power lines that will need to be expanded to transport green energy generated along the coast to states like Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, wrote taz. That would require an investment of around 100 billion euro on top of the 25 billion to purchase TenneT. But according to taz, the price tag is worth it because electricity grids are critical infrastructure. Selling TenneT's German business to private firms or floating it on the stock exchange could lead to even higher energy prices as investors seek profits, which would further harm public acceptance of the green transition, writes taz.  

Wirtschaftswoche writes that TenneT must now find new financing models with clear and attractive conditions for investors but that will take time and should not lead to increased grid fees, which will burden industry.  

German government sources told Reuters they still might buy a minority stake in the grid but another source close to the talks said TenneT Germany was so large it could be hard to find another investor.

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