29 Jan 2020, 14:09
Freja Eriksen

CORRECTION - Grid expansion will be Energiewende's next big 'object of hate' – institute

Clean Energy Wire

Corrects position of Felix Matthes, who is research coordinator at the Institute for Applied Ecology, not the institute's head.

Power grid expansion is set to become the German energy transition's next big "object of hate", said Felix Matthes, research coordinator at the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut). Matthes said he was "very optimistic" regarding the low costs of renewable energy, but added at a grid conference that Germany must face the fact that the electricity grid will likely rise from accounting for about a fifth to 40 percent of the entire electricity system's costs. The country will have to handle this shift very carefully, he warned. He said the use of hydrogen could not replace power grid expansion, as Germany would not have surplus electricity in the future. Simone Peter, president of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), warned the federal government's forecasts "completely underestimate" Germany's power demand in 2030 given its targets for the expansion of electric mobility, increased use of heat pumps and power-to-x technologies, all of which will require more power.

Christian Schorn of transmission system operator (TSO) TransnetBW reported TSOs were already experiencing opposition from citizens' groups at "every step" of the grid planning process. He said following resistance against the "Suedlink" power highway, it was decided to use underground cables in a new planning process. As new plans were released, the next opposition initiative simply took over, he said.

Germany’s shift from fossil fuelled and nuclear power will only succeed if the infrastructure is there to support a very different kind of energy system. But updating the power grid has proved a fraught process, plagued by public resistance. An underdeveloped grid is already costing consumers hundreds of millions of euros per year.

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