29 Jan 2021, 13:11
Julian Wettengel

Germany needs yet more power lines as grid expansion lags – report

Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire

As electricity needs in all economic sectors increase with efforts to make them more climate-friendly, Germany’s transmission grid operators see an increased need for major new power lines, even as current expansion is already lagging, reports Der Spiegel. The operators have published their first draft of the grid expansion plan 2035 (NEP 2035) and said the increased share of renewables as part of the energy transition is “the key driver of grid development” in a system soon without nuclear energy and less and less coal power. The operators look at different scenarios and estimate that investments of 72 to 76.5 billion euros by 2035 are needed for the proposed grid expansion measures. Compared to earlier expansion plans for 2030, Germany will by 2035 need an additional several hundred kilometres of transmission lines, depending on how much sectors are electrified. 

Parliamentarians in the Bundestag on 28 January approved amendments to Germany’s grid expansion law (Bundesbedarfsplangesetz), which updates the list of most important expansion projects and aims to make planning and permit processes more efficient. 

The German government plans to source 65 percent of power demand from renewables by 2030, and experts say overall power demand will increase over the coming decade. More and more renewables feed-in will require a more flexible electricity grid to cope with fluctuating production and demand. Grid expansion, however, has been lagging in Germany. It has faced protests from local residents and state governments, who have launched legal challenges to the plans in some cases. 

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