Germany's power grid stabilising costs fall slightly amid increasing renewables growth
Clean Energy Wire
The cost of stabilising the German power grid fell slightly in 2018 to 1.438 billion euros (compared to 1.510 billion euros in 2017), the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) said in its annual report on grid and system security measures. Despite an overall growth in intermittent renewable capacity (wind, solar PV), the amount of power generation that had to be curbed in times of high input and insufficient grid capacity (bottlenecks) has decreased. The agency said 2.6 percent of all renewable energy generated had to be curbed and 635.4 million euros had to be paid to renewable operators in compensation for this. The so-called re-dispatch measures, necessary to stabilise the grid when, due to network constraints, electricity cannot flow freely, cost 472.7 million euros, a fall of 22 percent compared to the previous year, the agency said. Among other factors, this was due to the new east-south grid (Thüringer Strombrücke), which helped avoid blockages in the north-south connections.
One of the main issues of Germany’s energy transition – the move away from fossil fuels towards a system largely based on renewable power sources – is the lagging power grid expansion, which means that renewable wind power generated in the north of the country can too often not flow to the industrial centres in the south.