BNetzA: Need for Reserve Power Capacity Almost Doubles to 4,800 MW in 2015/2016

Based on information provided by the transmission system operators (TSOs) the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) sees a need for reserve power plant capacity of 4,800 MW for the 2015/2016 winter. That would be almost twice the amount recently announced by BNetzA for the coming winter season (2,540 MW).

BNetzA named growing wind generation capacities in Northern Germany and the shut down of the nuclear power plant Grafenrheinfeld (located in Bavaria) in late 2015 (as part of the German nuclear power phase-out) as reasons for its decision. For precautionary reasons one had also assumed a delay of completion in particular of the so-called Thuringian Power Bridge (also called Süd-West-Kuppelleitung), an important 380 kV extra-high voltage power line project, BNetzA said (For more information on the Thuringian Power Bridge, please see here. Regarding the progress of various German electricity transmission system expansion projects, please click here).

It believed that the reserve capacities already procured or in the process of being procured for the coming winter were also available in winter 2015/16, BNetzA said. Besides the power plants in Southern Germany, which were at risk of being shut down by 2016 would be made part of the so-called grid reserve (Netzreserve). In the past several German utilities have been considering to close down conventional power plants, citing a lack of profitability as more and renewable power is fed into the grids and enjoys priority (but requires back-up power due to its intermittent nature). Besides the increasing amount of renewable energy lead to falling prices at the energy exchange. Since an amendment of the Germany Energy Act (EnWG) in late 2012, there is the legal possibility of prohibiting the shut down of larger power plants if plants are deemed “system-relevant”. In June this year the government passed the so-called Reservekraftwerksverordnung (Ordinance on Reserve Power Plants – ResKV), which further specifies the provisions and also sets the requirements for an “appropriate remuneration” (cf. Section 11 paras. 2 to 4 ResKV).

From the 4,800 MW of reserve capacity deemed necessary, about 3,500 MW were thus considered available, and the remaining amount could be procured, BNetzA said. Hence, it was not necessary to build new conventional power plants, a possibility also given under ResKV, for the 2015/2016 winter. The TSOs would speedily enter into talks about reserve capacities.

BNetzA announced that the next analysis pursuant to ResKV was due on 1 April 2014. The TSOs would then also provide BNetzA with a further refined analysis of the supply situation in winter 2015/16, the agency said.

Source: Federal Network Agency

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6 Responses to “BNetzA: Need for Reserve Power Capacity Almost Doubles to 4,800 MW in 2015/2016”

  • “Besides the power plants in Southern Germany, which were at risk of being shut down until 2016 …”

    A minor translation issue: “bis 2016” can mean *until* 2016 (that is, the plants are currently shut down, and will not be restarted before the beginning of 2016), or *by* 2016 (that is, the plants are currently operating, and will be shut down no later than the end of 2016). I suspect you meant the latter.

  • Mutthias Leng

    Thanks, Bill. You are right – made the change.

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