European grid operator TenneT has informed the German Federal Chancellery and the German federal ministries of economic affairs and the environment that the construction of cables for offshore wind farms in the German part of the North Sea is no longer possible under ‘current conditions.’
According to TenneT, the current structure is not suitable to accomplish the ambitions of the ‘energy transition,’ which calls for an increase in the share of renewable energy to at least 35% of electricity consumption in 2020. TenneT has, therefore, proposed a program that it says will facilitate the energy transition.
These measures include a binding long-term offshore plan, the clarification of legal liability and the creation of a German direct-current grid operator.
TenneT says a long-term offshore development plan will enable the best possible use of personnel, manufacturing capacity and capital. In the future, offshore connecting cables should be constructed on the basis of a 10-year offshore grid development plan.
Early planning and standardization of power connections, in particular, is key to high planning dependability for wind farm operators, authorities and grid operators, TenneT says, adding that it is the only way to synchronize offshore projects with the necessary development of the onshore grid.
TenneT says that new legislation is essential in order to prevent delays in electricity delivery. The grid operator proposes the assigning of priority to the establishment of property insurance coverage for non-availability of the offshore connection due to delayed production or the interruption of operations. According to TenneT, the liability of the grid operator should be limited to an amount that can actually be serviced by the insurance market.
The creation of offshore direct-current (DC) connections and the construction of large-scale DC connections in Germany require not only unprecedented use of capital, but also closely coordinated planning, TenneT adds. For these reasons, the grid operator is proposing the creation of a German DC grid operator, the purpose of which will be to design new offshore DC connection cables and to plan, finance, build and operate the future German HVDC grid.