29 May 2024, 13:37
Carolina Kyllmann

Econ minister committed to German takeover of Dutch grid operator TenneT

Rheinische Post

Germany's economy minister Robert Habeck remains committed to plans for the state to take over the German business of Dutch electricity grid operator TenneT despite months-long failed negotiations. "I still think it makes sense for the state to ensure that such important infrastructure remains in good hands," he told newspaper Rheinischen Post in an interview. "We will continue to talk to the Dutch government about this." Plans to buy a stake in the transmission system operator were first announced in 2020 and after stalling, negotiations were reopened towards the end of 2022. Plans hit a hurdle again when Germany's constitutional court ruled that unused pandemic funds could not be transferred to a special fund set up to finance energy transition projects, throwing the government's spending plans into disarray.

Germany's four transmission grid operators are tasked with expanding the country's power grid to enable an increased use of renewable energy sources, in particular wind power from the north of the country that is needed in the industrial centres of the south. Habeck warned against high costs if Germany failed to expand its grid: "We would then have to permanently shut down plants and pay a lot of money to compensate for this, and ramp up expensive gas-fired power plants elsewhere," he said. Many expansion projects were delayed after facing strong public resistance. However, network agency BNetzA expects a significant acceleration of the grid buildout in the coming years after a raft of new legislation has cut red tape and allows for faster infrastructure licensing.

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