Germany raises grid stability reserve as network expansion lags behind
Clean Energy Wire
Germany has slightly raised its winter power capacity reserve, designed to keep the grid stable in critical situations, to 6,600 megawatts (MW) in 2020-2021 from around 5,100 MW in 2019-2020, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has said. The main reason behind the increased need for backup capacity was that power grid expansion had been lagging behind demand, said the BNetzA. For the 2024-2025 winter season, the network agency said the power capacity reserve will further rise to just over 8,000 MW. BNetzA said EU rules, which require member states to increase power trade capacity between them, will somewhat boost demand. However, the increase is largely due to the coal exit decision to take additional plants off the market and put them into the reserve, not because of an increased need for reserve capacity. Actually, re-dispatch needs are expected to fall, as future grid expansion dampens demand on the reserve, said BNetzA. Germany's coal phase-out will also relieve the burden on power lines as less electricity from coal production will be exported, it said.
The grid stability reserve serves as a last resort to prevent strains in the transmission grid which would otherwise lead to blackouts. This happens, for example, when wind turbines in northern Germany produce a lot of power that cannot be transported to the industrial centres in the south, because of a lack of transmission lines.