Network expansion is progressing, but it is still falling behind the expansion of renewable energy. Dr Hans-Jürgen Brick, Commercial Director of Amprion, wants to change that.

If Germany wants to obtain at least 80 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050 …

Then we will have to prepare our grid for it right now, full speed ahead. For that reason Amprion alone will be investing almost seven billion euros over the next few years into the expansion of existing power lines and building new ones. However, we are not progressing as quickly as planned. This is not only down to new legislative requirements. All those involved in the generations-long energy transition project have experienced a steep learning curve. Network expansion must accelerate and be better intermeshed with the growth of renewable energy generation. That will enable us to reduce the grid bottlenecks which are getting ever more frequent.

If there were fewer grid bottlenecks …

Then the risk of major disruption would diminish. Costs would also be reduced. Whenever we ramp down power stations or wind farms off schedule in order to keep the power grid stable, or have to ramp up the output of other facilities, it costs a lot of money. And in the end electricity consumers have to pay, and that means all of us.

If you could turbocharge the rate of the grid expansion …

Then for one thing we would make a start with the licensing process. There is considerable scope there for cutting away red tape, for example by simplifying and accelerating the process. We could also do with adding some support from politicians to our tool kit. For instance, we would take the opportunity to use our projects to generate greater added value for the infrastructure of the region, to the benefit of private individuals and local communities alike.

If you could explain the ins and outs to the general public …

Then I would make it clear that we are undertaking grid expansion with people and for people. As far as possible we want to implement our projects with the consent of local people. However, we do need to make swift progress. We have an obligation to the 29 million people and thousands of businesses in our grid area who are all dependent on a secure and affordable power supply.

If you talk to politicians responsible for energy …

Then I sense that they are waiting for constructive proposals on how to control the cost of the energy transition. By accelerating the grid expansion process we could save billions of euros.


Illustration: Xenia Fink

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