The 8th meeting of the ”Future Proof Energy Networks Platform”  (Plattform Zukunftsfähige Energienetze) focused on the regulatory framework for distribution networks. A paper on key findings also provides information the progress made towards grid expansion.
The platform has been set up by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) to accompany the energy policy shift towards a renewable energy supply.
“Efficient networks are a prerequisite for the energy system of the future”, BMWi state secretary Stefan Kapferer pointed out. The government wanted to improve investment conditions where necessary, he said, adding that recommendations by the platform ”Future Proof Networks and System Security” had already become part of a draft for an amending ordinance. The platform had proposed that costs related to expansion and restructuring investments in the high-voltage level of the distribution grids were considered as investment measures in the sense of Section 23 Incentive Regulation Ordinance (ARegV ).
In December 2012  respectively March 2011  the ManyElectronics Agency (dena) and the Federal Association of the Electricity and Water Industry (BDEW) had presented studies on the need for extension and modernisation of the German distribution grids. They had both called for greater regulatory incentives for investment.
A study carried out by the Energy Research Centre of Lower Saxony (efzn) on behalf of BMWi and in cooperation with the working group “storage” of the platform ”Future Proof Networks and System Security” showed that storage facilities were technically suited to improve system security (Systemsicherheit) in the grids (and thus lead to a higher security of supply), BMWi said.
Another study on behalf of BMWi is currently trying to establish the need for extension and restructuring of the distribution grids with a special focus on the potential of smart grid technologies. Besides the study explores the effects of an active feed-in management on grid expansion. The platform ”Future Proof Networks and System Security” is involved in the study, for which results are expected at the beginning of 2014, BMWi informed.
A document on the key findings of the 8th meeting of the platform ”Future Proof Networks and System Security” also provides information on the status of the grid expansion projects in the transmission networks that receive priority treatment under the Energy Line Extension Act (Energieleitungsausbaugesetz – EnLAG). As the Federal Network Agency and the German Cartel Office had pointed out in their joint Electricity and Gas Monitoring Report 2012 , the majority of the 24 EnLAG projects are delayed. The paper by the network platform lists nine projects for which the transmission system operators and the federal states have agreed on new completion dates. Only in two cases the completion dates were brought forward, in all other cases they were postponed to later years. In one case completion was postponed by three years. Besides the platform highlighted once again the importance of the completion of the so-called Thuringian power bridge (Thüringer Stromstrombrücke ) and called on all parties involved to work to this end, in particular to conclude the plan determination procedure for the third part connecting Altenfeld and Redwitz.
Source: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology