Germany confirms action plan to speed up grid expansion


German economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier has presented a Power Grid action plan to speed up the current pace of grid expansion in the country.

The plan is an amendment to the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act and aims to keep up with the rapid expansion of renewable electricity.

Furthermore, the plan aims to achieve greater control of the grid through predictive measures and notifications when reinforcement measures are required, as well as to simplify planning procedures in German, including waiving federal planning when an existing route is already being used.

The action plan will also see the installation of new cables that can withstand higher currents, as well as a nationwide digitalisation of the power grid.

According to Altmaier: “The power grids are the cardiovascular system of our power supply. This must work reliably from the wind turbines in the North Sea to the charging station in Bavaria”.

“Germany is in arrears when expanding its networks,” he added. Although, he also noted that north-south HVDC (high-voltage direct current) transmission lines will only be completed by 2025 “at the earliest”.

The German wind energy association (BWE) welcomed Minister Altmaier’s decision to address the issue of network expansion. Its CEO Wolfram Axthelm said: “For years, BWE has been pointing out the need for these expansions.

“Therefore, we follow Altmaier’s Netzausbaureise (journey through Germany to better understand the problems of network expansion).”

He added: “We expect Altmaier to put his promises into action quickly, as the expansion is needed to transport wind energy from Germany’s north to the production- and energy-intensive centres in the south.”

Germany’s electricity sector has undergone fundamental changes over the last decade, a result of the Energiewenda transformation mandate. To facilitate this expansion, two major new power lines Suedlink and Suedostlink are expected to be completed by 2025.

Part of Altmaier’s campaign includes promoting the expansion and ensuring buy-in from many of the reluctant citizens.