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German Energy Regulator Aims to Accelerate Power Grid Expansion


German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur estimates that Germany needs to accelerate the approval process for new power transmission lines in order to ensure power supply in the context of the energy transition. Currently, around 7,700 km of power line expansions are planned to integrate new renewable capacities in the German electricity grid in the next decade. So far, 1,800 km (23%) are approved or realized and around 4,600 km (60%) are at different stages of the planning process. The remaining 1,300 km are still in early development and have been deferred by long planning procedures and local opposition.

The Bundesnetzagentur expects an April 2019 law to accelerate network expansion. The energy regulator is also advancing in the planning procedures for large HVDC lines Ultranet, SuedLink and SuedOstLink and is reviewing grid expansion plans by power transmission system operators (TSOs), such as the HVDC line project from Schleswig-Holstein to Baden-Wrttemberg (greater Stuttgart area).

The construction of new power transmission lines is crucial to enable new wind and solar capacities to replace conventional power plants: nuclear reactors will be phased out by the end of 2022, retiring 11 GW of power capacity, and coal-fired power capacity will more than halve to 17 GW by 2030, in order to complete the coal exit by 2038


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