In the past years, the energy policy has undergone radical changes. Renewable energy sources will represent an ever growing share in electricity generation. The energy strategy of the Federal Government lists the targets:
The grid expansion is and remains of central importance to achieve this goal, as the growing significance of renewable energy sets new requirements for the electrical grid. Whereas before, power was generated close to the consumer, now and in the future it will have to be transported to the consumption centres across great distances from regions where generation is high but consumption low. Grid expansion is therefore mainly required for the transmission of wind power from areas subject to strong winds (e.g. the North German Lowlands) to the consumption centres in Central and East Germany.
The expansion targets for renewable energy sources can only be attained if the decentralised generation can be integrated in the supply structures by expanding the grids. Both grid studies by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) of 2005 and 2010 underpinned the need for grid development. In 2009, the Bundestag adopted the Power Grid Expansion Act (or EnLAG), followed by the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (or NABEG) in 2011. Both acts speed up the mandatory authorisation procedure by introducing a number of changes. Moreover, the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) requires 50Hertz and the three other German transmission system operators, TenneT TSO, Amprion and TransnetBW, to develop a joint grid development plan on a yearly basis. In June 2012, the first of these was presented to the competent Federal Network Agency. The long-term grid planning that it contains and that is updated constantly, was then used to establish the Federal Requirement Plan for the expansion of the transmission system in Germany, after thorough assessment and approval by the Bundestag and the German Federal Government.
As required by law, 50Hertz tries to take up and transport all energy generated from renewable sources at all times. In this respect, the transmission grid in north-eastern Germany, for which we are responsible, presents a historic peculiarity due to the past division of Germany. For a long time, only three connections existed between the new and old Bundesländer - four after the commissioning of the Wind Bus Bar in December 2012. Against this background, 50Hertz continues working to fill the gap in the power grid still dividing east and west, to also ensure Germany's continuous security of supply in the future.