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German Is Looking For Faster Grid Expansion

08/09/2010
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Germany’s renewable energy future hinges on the fast expansion of power transmission grids, but planning authorities are dragging their feet, the head of the country’s energy regulator said this week.

“Many of the planned lines are waiting in local queues, among them ones that have priority,” Matthias Kurth of the Bundesnetzagentur (BnetzA) told during an energy conference.

“The lengthy procedures are creating bottlenecks, we are talking to the states and the economy ministry is doing the same. We have to do something.”

The remarks came a day after German government agreed to lengthen the life cycles of nuclear plants to give that technology a bridging role until renewables can provide the bulk of power.

In order for grids to cope with the rise of volatile green power, they must be expanded so they can transport energy from wind power-heavy regions to consumption centers.

Dena, a government agency, said that from over 850 km of power lines needed 5 years ago, only 90 km have actually been accomplished.

Germany’s federal structure means that when projects touch on various states’ territory, many local authorities must give the green light before construction can begin.

Kurth also supplied data showing that of the 13 billion euros budgeted for power transmission infrastructure projects in 2008 – 2009,  BnetzA has already approved 10 billion euros worth.

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