TenneT welcomes German gov't grid plan

Beleaguered system operator supports proposal

A plan to speed up work on the installation of export cables linking offshore wind stations in German waters with the mainland grid has been welcomed by TenneT, the very company viewed by many as responsible for creating existing delays.

The plan was published on Monday, and represents a joint effort by Germany’s federal economy and environment ministries (Windforce Offshore 02-Jul-12).

"We welcome the proposal … to introduce new liability arrangements and a new system for offshore grid development," said Lex Hartman, a member of TenneT’s board of management, today. "The proposal by the two ministers represents a new direction in the development of offshore wind energy. It is now essential to implement the ministers' proposal as soon as possible," added Hartman.

TenneT’s failure to keep pace with demand for grid connections from offshore wind developers active in the German market is the issue dominating the industry there (Windforce Offshore 28-Jun-12). It is widely believed that TenneT currently lacks the capital to invest in the volume of cable laying necessary to serve offshore wind projects, particularly those that are due to be served by the Helwin 1 cable array, which include Nordsee Ost and Meerwind (Windforce Offshore 26-Jun-12).

Responding to the German government proposal, Hartman emphasised that TenneT will "support the connection of offshore wind farms" and that development of a "long-term offshore grid plan", clear rules on liability, and "a solution" to export cable financing "are absolutely essential". TenneT says it has invested approximately €6 billion in offshore wind grid connections, thus far, "making it the largest investor" in Germany’s transition away from nuclear power and toward a renewable energy-focused energy sector.

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