Germany’s grid expansion going slower than planned
Bureaucratic hurdles and citizens’ initiatives have slowed down Germany’s much-needed electricity grid expansion, Stefan Schultz reports in Spiegel. In a response to a query by Green Party Bundestag member Oliver Krischer, the federal energy ministry (BMWi) stated that only around 120 kilometres of new extra-high voltage lines have been built this year. In 2020, a total of around 341 kilometres were built, in 2019 some 203 kilometres and in 2018 approximately 171 kilometres. Citizens’ initiatives aimed at delaying or blocking the installation of new power lines in their areas have been successful in forcing the federal government scale back its plans, Schultz writes. As a result, the grid expansion is progressing much more slower in 2021 than last year.
Power grid expansion is a central component of the energy transition and of making Germany climate neutral by 2045, as the energy system becomes more dependent on fluctuating renewable power sources from more and more feed-in points. In addition, a considerable amount of green electricity is generated by offshore and onshore wind farms in the north of the country that has to be transported to industrially rich southern Germany. Existing power lines are already partially overloaded due to the slow expansion, incurring costs for grid management procedures.