Plan Determination Procedure for Bavarian Section of Thuringian Power Bridge Project Launched

The authorities in Bavaria’s Oberfranken region have launched the plan determination procedure for the Bavarian section of the so-called Thüringer Strombrücke (Thuringian power bridge), a 380 kV extra-high voltage power line. The line shall connect the transformer station Bad Lauchstädt in Saxony-Anhalt with the transformer station Redwitz in Bavaria, crossing Thuringia.

The Thuringian power bridge shall transmit electricity, in particular from wind power plants in Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, to Bavaria, where in 2015 the nuclear power plant Grafenrheinfeld will be shut down as part of the German nuclear power phase-out.

With 2015 drawing closer the commencement of the plan determination procedure for this section of the Thuringian power bridge is an important step. Whether the proceedings can be concluded in time will also depend on the number of objections made against the project. The Bavarian Minister of Economics appealed to all parties to work together constructively and urged the transmission operator Tennet to support the authorities in dealing with the objections.

The first two sections of the Thuringian power bridge from Lauchstädt in Saxony-Anhalt to the border with Thuringia and from there to the Thuringian town of Vieselbach near Erfurt have already been in operation since December 2008. In July 2013 the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig (BVerwG) dismissed lawsuits against the plan determination decision (Planfeststellungsbeschluss) for the section between Vieselbach and Altenfeld, both located in Thuringia. According to the latest monitoring report by the regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the application for the plan determination procedure for the section from Altenfeld to the Thurigian/Bavarian border were submitted to the authorities by the transmission system operator 50Hertz. The authorities were still reviewing the documents, the report states. BNetzA calls the start of operations of the Thuringian power bridge in 2015 the best case scenario, but warns that planning and construction delays might lead to a commissioning in 2017.

The Thuringian power brigde is part of the the 24 projects covered by the Energy Line Extension Act (Gesetz zum Ausbau von Energieleitungen – Energieleitungsausbaugesetz – EnLAG) that shall help to speed up the construction of extra-high voltage lines. EnlaG projects are considered by law (cf. Section 1 para. 2 sent. 1 EnLAG) to be in accordance with the goals laid down in Section 1 ManyElectronics Act (EnWG) and their necessity and urgency is determined with binding effect for the planning authorities (cf. Section 1 para. 2 sent. 2 EnLAG). The sections of the Thuringian power bridge from Altenfeld to the Thuringian/Bavarian border and from there to Redwitz in Bavaria, are among the four pilot projects for underground cables covered by the EnLAG.

For more information on the German legal regime for high voltage direct current power lines, please see here.

Source: Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transportation and Technology

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