In its third Grid Study, the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency – is investigating how planning the expansion of the power grid can be adapted to the next phase of the energy transition. The aim of the three-year process is to explore how the grid development plan might evolve into a system development plan. For example, from 2030 the location of generation capacities and a market design oriented towards grid congestion could be incorporated into planning. dena has already presented two major studies containing measures for the future development of the electricity grid, in 2005 and 2010.
‘In Grid Study III we want to demonstrate new ways forward for grid planning,’ says Andreas Kuhlmann, Chief Executive of dena. ‘We can already see how necessary this is in various areas right now: grid expansion is progressing only slowly; many new construction projects are contested by residents; and costs for avoiding congestion and intervening in power station operation are on the rise. In the future it’s all going to be about using additional data from practical experience and research, and incorporating aspects such as flexibility potential, market development and technological innovations into the planning process. Developments are pointing towards a paradigm shift: from pure grid planning to a holistic, system-based approach.’
dena is working on Grid Study III in collaboration with the transmission system operators, large distribution system operators, the BET office for the energy industry and technical planning, and other partners from science and industry. Dialogue fora and expert workshops will therefore be held on an ongoing basis. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.
dena Grid Studies I and II
In 2005, in its first Grid Study, dena developed strategies to achieve a 20 per cent share of renewable energy sources in Germany’s electricity generation between 2015 and 2020. One of its recommendations was to upgrade around 400km of extra-high voltage lines and build around 850km of new ones by 2015. The new sections were later incorporated into the Power Grid Expansion Act, as urgent grid expansion projects.
dena Grid Study II, which followed in 2010, developed measures for integrating 39 per cent of renewable energy sources up to the period 2020–2025. It evaluated various different scenarios incorporating expansion of power lines, overhead line monitoring, high-temperature conductor wires and other optimisation options. One of the results of the study was the dual strategy of expanding the grid and optimising grid capacity utilisation that is being pursued today.
Electricity grids and the integrated energy transition will also be topics at the dena Energy Transition Congress on 26 and 27 November in Berlin. This cross-sectoral conference provides an opportunity to discuss strategies and approaches to solutions. For more information, visit www.dena-kongress.de.