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Tennet eyes German-Dutch cross-border electricity capacity increase

16 Sep 2013 17:17:23 | edem

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Dutch state-owned system operator Tennet is assessing the possibility of expanding cross-border capacity between Germany and the Netherlands, it said on Monday.

A decision if and by how much the capacity could be increased is due to be made after an assessment takes place in coming months.

Transmission system operator (TSO) Tennet will assess the possibility of upgrading an existing 1,645MW line between Meeden in the Netherlands and Diele in Germany, it said in a statement. The upgrade could happen “relatively quickly with limited investment”, Tennet said, on grounds it is the TSO on both sides of the border.

“Such a capacity upgrade could probably be completed in three to five years’ time,” Tennet said. The company “will investigate in further detail how much additional capacity could be provided and whether this would be sufficient for the market”, it added.

Any expansion would come on top of a new two-cable interconnector between Doetinchem in the Netherlands and Wesel in Germany. Each cable will boast capacity of 2,635MW. The interconnector, which is under construction, is due to be finished in 2016, Tennet said.

In addition to Tennet’s interconnections, German TSO Amprion has cross-border capacity with the Netherlands of 3.8GW.

Capacity constraints

Tennet warned that the existing cross-border capacity was “not always capable of importing sufficient quantities of this cheap [German wind and solar] electricity while at the same time maintaining parity between electricity prices in the Netherlands and Germany.”

Prices between the two markets have diverged since 2011, when they were coupled 90% of the time, compared with 30% today, according to Tennet.

The 34GW of German wind power capacity is causing much strain on the domestic grid as well as in neighbouring countries. In June, Tennet confirmed to ICIS that it was restricting Day-ahead commercial cross-border flow capacity on days with high wind power generation in Germany ( see EDEM 5 January 2013 ).

In addition, it is financially more attractive to import relatively cheap German hard-coal generated power into the Netherlands than to run more expensive domestic natural gas plants, which led to the near doubling of electricity imports from Germany last year ( see EDEM 14 January 2013 ). In August, RWE said during an analyst call at its results presentation that interconnector capacity between Germany and the Netherlands was at full capacity most of the time. Martin Degen

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