27 Mar 2023, 14:06
Carolina Kyllmann

Making Germany’s electricity grid fit for climate neutrality to cost extra €128 billion

Clean Energy Wire

An additional investment of over 128 billion euros compared to earlier plans is needed to make Germany’s electricity grid fit for a climate neutral future, according to a first draft of a 2037-45 grid development plan drawn up by the country’s four transmission system operators (TSOs). For the first time, the development plan describes a grid that is fit for overall climate neutrality 2045 - and a fully renewable electricity system by 2035 as a key milestone. This means that most of the grid expansion needs identified for 2045 will already be needed in 2037, said the TSOs. After that, additional renewable power would be used to produce green hydrogen. Compared to previous plans, the assumptions on the extent of hydrogen use have increased significantly, added the grid operators. "A comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure is assumed as early as 2037, the design of which has an impact on the development needs of the electricity transmission grid," they said. Electrolysers would be built in locations where they can help stabilise the grid.

“Finally, there is a plan for an electricity grid with 100 percent clean electricity!” said Ingrid Nestle, the Green Party parliamentary group’s spokesperson for energy and climate. “In the next few years, all regions of Germany must work together,” she added, calling on politicians to ensure local renewable expansion and fast planning permission for transmission lines.

Electricity is set to play a central role in the energy transition, as decarbonising sectors such as heating and transport — which missed their emission reduction targets in 2022 — will largely be achieved through electrification. Thus, TSOs expect electricity consumption to double to 1,000 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2045. In the grid development plan, they presented measures to optimise, reinforce and expand the transmission grid to minimise grid bottlenecks and the throttling of renewable power caused by low capacity. In the first half of 2022, Germany curtailed around four percent of its renewable electricity production due to grid bottlenecks. The newly identified projects until 2045 comprise a total route length of 14,197 km. The first draft now enters a consultation process before the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) will then review the plan.

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