German regulator announces preparations to terminate common power zone with Austria
Germany plans to split the common power price zone with its neighbour Austria in July 2018, according to a press release by the federal economy ministry (BMWi). This did not mean a split of the countries' power markets, said state secretary Rainer Baake. The Federal Network Agency (BnetzA) today called on German power grid operators to prepare for “a functioning capacity management as from 3 July 2018” at the German-Austrian border. This step was necessary, because “electricity exports to Austria are increasing and rapidly leading to cases of network congestion between Germany and Austria,” said BNetzA president Jochen Homann in a separate press release. So far, power trade has not developed in coordination with the transport capacities actually available at the border. In the long term, electricity grids in Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic won’t be capable of transporting all the electricity exchanged, writes BNetzA. Power trade between the countries would continue to be possible in large quantities, but trading peaks would be capped once the system was in place in 2018. BNetzA says that Austrian involvement in the preparations would be “useful and welcome.” Austrian regulators opposed the plans and called them "neither necessary nor justified" in a press release.
For background read the CLEW articles Loop flows: Why is wind power from northern Germany putting east European grids under pressure? and Europe's largest electricity market set to split.
Also read a Reuters article on the BNetzA announcement.