16 Jan 2023, 13:54
Carolina Kyllmann

Heat pump and e-car boom threatens local electricity grids – German agency

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

The spread of heat pumps and electric vehicles could lead to local power cuts in parts of Germany where the grid is not yet prepared for an increase in electricity demand, the head of the federal network agency (BNetzA) said. “If many heat pumps and charging stations continue to be installed, we run the risk of overload problems and local power cuts if we don’t act,” Klaus Müller told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS). To keep up with the expected increase in electricity demand, Müller is now calling for a push in local electricity grid expansion and consulting on flexible regulation, stressing that BNetzA does not want to throttle electricity.

According to FAS, BNetzA published a paper that predicts temporary electricity rationing within municipalities for heat pumps and electric cars in times of high grid use. This would mean grid operators throttle power supply in a centrally coordinated manner under new rules coming into force on 1 January 2024. Electric vehicles and heat pumps would be guaranteed a minimum supply even during critical times, according to the newspaper. As a result, private charging stations would be able to draw enough power to charge a vehicle for 50 kilometres in three hours and a large number of heat pumps could continue to operate without interruption.

Electrifying sectors which are currently mostly powered by fossil fuels – such as heating and transport – is key for the energy transition. The German government plans to install 500,000 new heat pumps in homes per year from 2024 and aims to have 15 million fully electric passenger cars on its roads by 2030.

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