Trianel sues Tennet over offshore connection
London, 23 October (Argus) — German municipal utility group Trianel has filed a lawsuit against Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) Tennet because of delays in connecting the company's 200MW Borkum offshore wind park in the German North Sea to the mainland grid.
The move came after policy makers said they will consider changing liability rules for delayed, cancelled or disrupted connection cables. A proposed draft bill attracted harsh criticism during a committee hearing in the German lower house of parliament (Bundestag) yesterday for failing to offer sufficient incentives and safeguards to attract investors to the offshore wind industry.
Trianel has filed a lawsuit against Tennet with the regional court of German city Bayreuth, as the group seeks damages for delays in completing the Dolwin 1 cable project that will connect its Borkum offshore wind park to the mainland grid.
Dolwin 1 is running several months behind schedule. Tennet has notified Trianel that it now expects to start testing Dolwin 1 in September 2013, with a commercial start-up not expected before December 2013, the municipal utility group told Argus.
The TSO, tasked with the network connection of wind parks in the German North Sea, confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed against them. “The delay of Dolwin 1 and other projects generally shows how important it is to change the framework conditions for network connection projects,” a Tennet spokesperson said.
Trianel filed the lawsuit ahead of planned reforms to the German energy act that propose introducing liability rules for delayed, cancelled or disrupted offshore wind connections.
Under the proposals, a wind park operator would be able to apply for compensation under certain circumstances and up to a certain amount. But operators would not be able to sue for damages if the draft law comes into force.
The committee of economy and technology of the Bundestag held a public hearing yesterday on the proposed draft law, which also includes proposals to introduce a 10-year development plant for offshore wind connections.
Utilities, energy industry associations and TSOs alike criticised the proposed liability rules as not improving framework conditions for network connections.
“The proposed liability regime is in principle useful but in its specific design is not suitable to attract much needed equity investors,” Tennet said in its position paper on the draft law.
Policy makers will now consider amending the draft law following the public hearing, economic policy spokesman for the ruling CDU-CSU parliamentary group Joachim Pfeiffer said. “We can confirm that adjustments will be reviewed,” he said.
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