BMU, BMWi and TSOs Present Key Issue Paper for Citizen Participation in Power Line Projects

The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) as well as the four German transmission system operators agreed on a key issue paper for citizen participation in new power line projects. The participation hall raise acceptance and offer the possibility to earn interest of up to 5%.

By getting involved in grid expansion, persons who had not yet personally benefitted from Germany’s energy policy shift  could do so. This would improve support for grid expansion, speeding up the process in turn, Federal Minister Peter Altmaier said. He had already proposed citizen participation in power line projects back in October 2012, calling it one of his top priorities before the Federal Election in September 2013. As the joint press release points out, the total amount of investments into the German grids is estimated to come to EUR 20 billion.

According to the key issue paper, the decision about the financing of power line projects by involving third parties as well as the individual financing method lie in the hands of the TSOs. If possible the financing method shall have a specific relation to the individual power line project to enhance public support by the citizens affected, the key point paper says without going further into detail.

Up 15% of the investments needed for power line projects shall be raised by involving interested citizens in return for a yield in line with market conditions of up to 5%, payable as of the start of construction.

The minimum investment shall preferably be in the range of up to EUR 1,000 to provide the opportunity to get involved for as many citizens as possible. Offers shall be made primarily to private investors who live in the municipalities affected by grid expansion and citizens and owners of land who are directly affected. Preferably, residents who live within a certain (unspecified) distance to the projects, should be given preferential treatment, the key point paper says.

As citizen participation would lead to additional costs, BMWi would review to what extent they would be covered by the current regulatory framework, or whether amendments were necessary, the paper continues to say. In a separate protocol declaration, the TSOs made clear that they expected to be fully compensated for any additional costs through the incentive and grid fee regulation regime.

The four TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT and TransnetBW shall develop models of participation in the coming weeks and name suitable power line projects, the joint press release announced, adding that this would reflect the experience gained by Tennet with citizen participation in its new 380 kV West Coast power line project (please see link below).

Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

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