German network expansion hit by further delays
London, 3 August (Argus) — The extension of Germany's high-voltage grid has fallen further behind schedule, with several of the most urgent projects facing additional delays of up to 12 months, grid regulator BNA said today.
A total of 15 out of the 24 most urgent grid expansion projects identified under the German power grid expansion act (Enlag) are delayed by between one and five years, BNA said.
The same projects were already backed up in the regulator's first-quarter review, but delays to several projects are now even more extensive.
“Even the data for the first quarter had given cause for concern,” BNA president Jochen Homann said. “The continued slow expansion is evidence of the urgent need for action.”
The German government identified the 24 Enlag projects — totalling 1,834km in transmission lines — before its decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and accelerate the push towards renewable power.
Germany's post-Fukushima energy strategy has increased the urgency of network extension as the country has to cope with grid bottlenecks in moving electricity from wind power hubs in the north and the east to demand hubs in the south and the west.
But only two of the 24 projects, running for 214km, have been completed so far. And BNA expects that only another 35km will be added by the end of this year.
And Germany's four transmission system operators (TSOs) expect to have completed only around half of the total — 963km — by 2016.
Two extension projects, Lauchstadt-Redwitz and Redwitz-Grafenrheinfeld, are now expected to be delayed by another year. Dutch-German TSO Tennet expects the Redwitz-Grafenrheinfeld connection to be completed at the end of 2013, although this was initially planned for 2010. And Lauchstadt-Redwitz is now expected to be completed in 2017.
Both projects are crucial to the country's bid to upgrade and extend the connection between east and west Germany.
A total of 16 of the Enlag projects are at various stages of the application process. But two projects have not even begun planning and budgeting yet.
In May, Germany's TSOs presented their first 10-year network development plan which identified the need to build another 3,800km in new high-voltage power lines on top of the 24 Enlag projects. The government plans to pass a bill on speeding up network expansion projects by the end of this year, based on the network development plan.
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