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18 Jan 2022, 12:39
Kerstine Appunn Jessica Bateman

Draft power grid scenarios show ways to ready system for climate neutrality by 2045

Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel Background

Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has published the transmission grid operators’ draft scenario framework for network development for the years 2023 to 2037, which for the first time also includes two scenarios for a climate neutral system by 2045. "The scenarios for the development of electricity generation and consumption are the basis for determining how much grid expansion is necessary," said BNetzA president Jochen Homann in a press release. Overall, all scenarios assume a significant increase in electricity consumption, driven by increasing use of e-mobility, heat pumps and the strong ramp-up of hydrogen production. In the scenarios, the conventional power plant fleet consists almost exclusively of gas-fired power plants, which are operated in a CO2-neutral manner in 2045. Renewables capacities are significantly higher than those in previous scenario frameworks. A net annual expansion of between 12.1 and 15.7 gigawatts (GW) is assumed for photovoltaics, between 2.7 and 4.4 GW for onshore wind power, and an average of two gigawatts per year for offshore until 2037. Tagesspiegel Background reported that the key difference between the scenarios laid out in the draft plan is the volume of domestic renewable power production versus that of green hydrogen imports. This is the “decisive open question” of Germany’s future energy system, writes Tagesspiegel.

The success of Germany's energy transition is highly dependent on the modernisation and expansion of the country's power grid. North-south connections that bring wind power from the North Sea and Baltic shores to industrial hubs are currently being planned and are scheduled to be completed by 2025. The plan, which is now open for public consultation, aligns with the new coalition government’s ambitious climate action goals and is the first grid framework to take potential climate neutrality and mass electrification into consideration. Public comments on the plan will be received until 14 February, then a final plan will be drawn up.

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