At its latest meeting the government of the State of Schleswig-Holstein in the very North of Germany made grid expansion one of its top priorities. The cabinet approved a proposal by the energy ministry to accelerate the construction of the so-called West Cost power line by an estimated six to nine months.
Instead of carrying out a formal regional planning procedure (Raumordnungsverfahren), issues concerning regional planning shall be treated in the plan determination procedure (Planfeststellungsverfahren) for the power line.
In its press release the Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas emphasised that citizen involvement should not be compromised, but shall take place in the form of an intensive dialogue with citizens prior to the proposed procedure.
The roughly 150 km long planned West Coast power line (Westküstenleitung) shall run from Niebüll via Husum and Heide to Brunsbüttel, receiving input from onshore wind turbines in the north that has to be carried to the south. Schleswig-Holstein recently announced to designate new areas suitable for the erection of wind power plants (Windeignungsgebiete). It thus needs the power line, the Energy Ministry pointed out.
The 380 kV extra-high voltage power line is divided into four sections. Section 1 runs from Brunsbüttel to Barlt, section 2 from Barlt-Heide, section 3 from Heide to Husum and section 4 from Husum to Niebüll. Regarding the first two sections the state planning authority already declared to dispense with the regional planning procedure, sections three and four shall follow suit, the Energy Ministry said. At the beginning of 2013 the plan determination procedure for the first section shall commence.
Two to three years could be gained by the new approach compared to the grid development plan, Energy Minister Robert Habeck said. If everything went according to plan, the plan determination procedures for all sections for the West Coast power line could be completed and the last section to Niebüll could be under construction or already completed.
Pursuant to Section 15 Regional Planning Act (Raumordnungsgesetz – ROG), the state planning authority has to assess the compatibility of projects in the sense of Section 1 ROG, e.g. power line routes. The procedure can be waived according to Section 15 para. 1 sent. 4 ROC if ROG compatibility is adequately reviewed in another procedure.
Source: Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas of the State of Schleswig-Holstein