German energy agency warns of electricity grid investment shortfall
"Innovative solutions" can slash the costs of the "urgently needed" modernisation and expansion of the German distribution electricity grid, but a higher guaranteed yield on investments is needed, warned German energy agency dena in study published Tuesday.
Total investments in the distribution grid of €27.5bn-42.5bn could be needed to build 135,000-193,000km of new power lines by 2030. In addition, between 21,000-25,000km needs to be modernised, dena says.
The energy agency demands an amendment to the regulatory environment that would see the guaranteed yield or tariffs on distribution grid investments increased, which is set by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). The current rate is not sufficient to cover the cost of connecting renewable power plants, dena said.
But cost savings could be made when upgrading and expanding the distribution grid through certain measures.
"Operators of distribution grids face the challenge to not only expand the grid but at the same time to modernise them intelligently," said the energy industry lobby group BDEW in a press statement on Tuesday.
A significant reduction in measures to expand the grid could come from the throttling of peak power generation from solar and onshore wind plants to reduce the strain on the grid, the study said. This is increasingly possible for onshore wind power farms which are being upgraded with remote control technology (see EDEM 12 July 2012).
Other potential solutions could include the use of controllable local power transformers.
On the other hand, solutions such as demand reduction through load shedding and a market-based utilisation of power storage facilities would increase the demand for grid modernisation, the study says.
"The expansion of renewables need to be synchronised urgently with the development of infrastructure," dena urged. MD
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