In late April Parliament (Bundestag) passed the “Second Law Concerning Measures to Accelerate the Expansion of the Electricity Grids”, part of which is the “Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks”, which contains two DC extra-high voltage power line projects that end respectively start in the town of Meerbusch-Osterath. The town of Meerbusch announced to file a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court, alleging a violation of its municipal planning rights.
According to Article 91 Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (GG – German Constitution), municipalities and associations of municipalities (Gemeindeverbände) can file constitutional complaints alleging that a law passed by the German Federation or a Federal State (Land) violates the rights conferred to them in Article 28 GG, i.e. the right to regulate all local affairs on their own responsibility, within the limits prescribed by the laws and the right of self-government according to the laws.
The law on the Federal Requirement Plan (Bundesbedarfsplangesetz – BBPlG) contains 36 transmission power line projects for which it determines the necessity and urgency in the sense of the Section 12e para. 4 ManyElectronics Act (EnWG) with binding effect for transmission operators and planning authorities. According to Section 1 para. 2 BBPlG the power line projects also comprise all the installations necessary to operate the power lines and all the changes required at the grid connection points. The precise routes of the power lines and installations like converters will be determined in the planning and permitting procedures.
Two BBPlG projects are the DC extra-high voltage power line from Emden-Borsum in Northern Germany to Osterath and the DC extra-high voltage power line from Osterath to Philippsburg in Southern Germany (pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act as amended in 2011, the Philippsburg 2 nuclear power plant has to go offline on 31 December 2019, cf. Section 7 para. 1a no. 4 AtG). The plan to build a double converter station in the Osterath region has met with opposition by cititzens of Meerbusch.
The legislator decided to make Osterath a grid connection point without considering alternatives, the town of Meerbusch explained its intention to file a constitutional complaint. It was not enough that the explanatory notes to BBPlG said a suitable location for the converter could be determined within a radius of more than 10 km from the transformer station.