Grid costs soar / Next nuclear reactor off
dpa / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The need for, and costs of, power grid stabilising measures grew to a record high in 2017 for transmission grid operator TenneT, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. According to preliminary data, TenneT said it had invested almost 1 billion euros in 2017 (710 million euros in 2015, 660 million euros in 2016) in re-dispatch and other stabilising measures, because Germany’s grid still lacked crucial power connections to cope with the increased feed-in of renewable power. “We urgently need an Energiewende-grid […]. Until then, grid congestion, high costs for consumers and a growing instable supply are the harsh reality,” said Tennet CEO Lex Hartmann. The company is responsible for central Germany’s electricity grid from coastal Schleswig-Holstein to southern Bavaria. A key problem in Germany is that high volumes of wind power cannot be transported to industrial centres in the south because of a lack of transmission lines.
Read the article in German here.
Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen GmbH / BMUB
Germany has closed the Gundremmingen B nuclear reactor in Bavaria, leaving the country with seven reactors to be shut down by the scheduled nuclear exit at the end of 2022. Since starting operation in 1984, the reactor had produced about “330 billion kilowatt hours of electricity CO₂-free”, the operator, Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen GmbH, wrote in a press release. To start the decommissioning process, used fuel rods will now be taken from the reactor and transported to a temporary storage site. German acting environment minister Barbara Hendricks welcomed the shut down: “The nuclear exit in Germany is taking an important step with this,” she said. The minister added that nuclear power had been a “wrong track” technologically, because faultlessness and low-cost energy had remained unfulfilled promises.
Read the press release in German here.
There is an “artificial monopoly” connecting Germany’s offshore wind parks with the mainland, said Martin Neubert, managing director of Orsted Wind Power Germany (formerly DONG Energy), write Franz Hubik and Klaus Stratmann in Handelsblatt. While companies are bidding to build and operate the wind parks themselves, grid operators TenneT and 50Hertz are responsible for the connection, according to German regulation. Neubert is calling for auctions so that his and other companies also have the opportunity to connect parks with the mainland. The connection costs make up about one-third of the total costs for a wind park, write Hubik and Stratmann.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid for more information.
Energy policy was a burden on the 2017 coalition talks because the Green Party, the conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the Free Democrats (FDP) narrowed the discussions down to a “symbolic political conflict”, writes Jakob Schlandt in Tagesspiegel. The parties could have found more common ground had they not argued only about the 2020 climate target and an accelerated coal exit, writes Schlandt in an end-of-year review 2017. In the upcoming coalition talks between Angela Merkel’s conservative block of CDU and CSU with the Social Democrats (SPD), it will be “exciting to see how [the parties] want to solve the dilemma that the 2020 climate target will be significantly missed without very drastic measures”, writes Schlandt.
Read the article in German here.
Germany might need new gas power plants to balance out the fluctuating feed-in by renewables, Uniper CEO Klaus Schäfer tells Rheinische Post in an interview. “The question of supply security is going to resurface, at the latest when the last nuclear reactor goes offline in 2022,” said Schäfer. Schäfer added that he could imagine building new plants “at some point or re-fitting existing ones. But not in the current market environment.”
Read the interview in German here.
For background, check out the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.