28 Jan 2021, 13:59
Kerstine Appunn

More renewables curbed to stabilise German power grid – report

Clean Energy Wire

More renewable and CHP (combined heat and power) power generation had to be curtailed because of grid congestion issues in 2019 than ever before, the new monitoring report 2020 by Germany’s Federal Network Agency and the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), Germany’s highest competition authority, says. The electricity curbed by grid operators came mainly from wind energy installations – overall, compared to 2018 (5,403 GWh) it increased by 20 percent (to 6482 GWh). One main reason was the very windy first quarter of 2019, the report said. But this still showed “that the necessary measures for optimising, strengthening and expanding the grids must be implemented without delay if the steady expansion of renewable energy is to continue”, the agencies write. Renewable energy producers and those of combined heat and power plants (CHP) are entitled to an estimated 710 million euros in compensation payments because of their output being curtailed. This figure had been 75 million euros lower in 2018. Despite the curtailment, around 97 percent of all renewable electricity was supplied to end consumers, the report said. Costs for all the different grid stabilisation measures (including e.g. redispatch, counter trading, capacity reserveremained stable at around 1.9 billion euros.

With a growing share of renewables and the ongoing phase-out of conventional power sources (14 GW coal and nuclear capacity will leave the system by 2023), the market share of the five largest electricity producers in Germany is overall declining and has shifted the weight of the different actors. RWE, as the market leader, remains far ahead of the other companies, the report finds. “Due to the progressive decline in generation capacities and the resulting market shortage, RWE could eventually cross the threshold of market dominance," Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office said in a press release.

Energy company associations BDEW and VKU worry that shutting down more and more conventional power stations, will leave many urban areas short of heat that is also produced in these stations. “The economy ministry assumes that a total of 14 gigawatts of gas-fired CHP plants will have to be added in Germany by 2030. However, these power plants are not in sight,” BDEW head Kerstin Andrea said in a press release. VKU chief executive Ingbert Liebing said, security of supply with electricity and heat would depend on municipal companies investing in the modernisation of highly efficient CHP plants, but at the moment, sufficient incentives for this were missing.

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