Germany’s finance minister says rapid grid expansion key to coal exit
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has called for faster progress on updating the country’s energy grids as this was essential to a coal-free energy system. In an interview with the Rheinische Post, Scholz, who is also serving as vice chancellor, said Germany needed concrete plans for its future gas and power grids that included greater use of hydrogen, and a law to ensure grid expansion proceeded as planned. Doing without coal would be “a key competitive advantage” for Germany in the 2030s,” he told the paper, adding that he was not sure “if everyone quite understood what the coal exit means for our country” and that “the whole government has a duty to make it work.”
The expansion of Germany’s power grid to transport electricity from windy northern states to industrial centres in the south is one of the country’s most important energy transition infrastructure projects. According to the country’s four major grid operators, Germany will need an additional 1,600 kilomteres of transmission lines and the refurbishment of another 2,900 km by 2030. The energy ministry wants to introduce a new law to accelerate grid planning procedures this year.