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German TSOs add another $10 billion to 2030 grid plan cost estimate

London — German grid operators have raised grid investment cost estimates by another Eur9 billion ($10.2 billion) in the second draft of the 2030 national grid development plan (NEP 2030), the four TSOs said Monday.

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The plan adds two 2 GW high voltage direct current (HVDC) power lines to transport expanding wind in the north to demand centers in the south, in addition to the 8 GW already in planning across four projects. In total, the plan establishes the need for 1,600 km of new lines and 2,800 km of existing line upgrades.

A first NEP 2030 draft published February 4 estimated costs would need to rise Eur20 billion to Eur52 billion versus the previous plan NEP 2030 (2017).

Now a second draft pushes the total up to Eur61 billion.

"This increase is due in large part to the extensive requirements for reactive power systems," the TSOs said.

The month-long consultation on the first draft saw 906 comments, with a reduced number of regional concerns about particular projects compared with responses to the previous plan, the TSOs said.

The plan models five scenarios (three for 2030 and one each for 2025/2035) and assumes sharply higher renewables' generation based on the government's 65% target for RES in the generation mix by 2030.

One scenario is closely aligned to the coal commission's recent recommendation to reduce lignite and hard coal generation capacity to 17 GW by 2030.

All consider the EU's Clean Energy Package and cross-border power trading requirements from 2025.

Offshore grid costs (O-NEP 2030) would add a further Eur18 billion-24 billion under some scenarios.

Many grid projects face delays due to low public acceptance.

The government plans to fast-track grid expansion with a new law (NABEG) passed April 5.

Internal grid bottlenecks are set to worsen on the back of wind additions in the north and nuclear closures in the south, provoking a southern region undersupply of 25-50% of annual demand.

Net power exports of around 50 TWh/year are expected to vanish as nuclear and coal plants close, making Germany increasingly reliant on electricity market integration with its neighbors.

For the second draft the TSOs carried out an additional sensitivity calculation based on the coal commission's recommendations published in late January to ensure identified grid measures were still required in the case of a total exit from coal as recommended.

The results showed grid expansion requirements for 2030 and for 2035 held good for the sensitivity analysis and could be considered robust, the TSOs said.

The TSOs also carried out a cost-benefit analysis for eight planned interconnectors.

The draft plan has now been submitted to the network regulator BNetzA for a second consultation and approval later this year after which specific projects will be included in federal planning law (BBP).

-- Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jonathan Fox, newsdesk@spglobal.com