Grid agency awards blackout-proof radio frequency to energy industry alliance
Clean Energy Wire
Germany's grid agency (BNetzA) has awarded a dedicated radio frequency to the country's energy industry that is supposed to serve as an emergency communication line in cases of major blackouts or other disruptions to the power system. The agency's decision to award the licenses for the 450 megahertz (MHz) frequency to private company 450connect GmbH, an alliance of energy providers, would set the country "on track towards the digitalisation of the energy and transport transition" by providing a cost-efficient and blackout-proof radio network, BNetzA head Jochen Homann said. Access to the radio frequency had caused a competition between Germany's energy industry and national security services, including the police, as both laid a claim to the 450 MHz network in order to become more autonomous from the country's power system. At the end of November last year, the agency ultimately decided that critical infrastructure providers, besides the energy industry also freshwater suppliers, should be given the frequency to enable them to quickly restore functionality in cases of system disruption.
While both the energy industry and security services deem a blackout-proof communication line a key asset to guarantee their ability to operate, Germany's national power system is among the most stable in the world.