Government Response to Minor Interpellation with Interesting Statistics Concerning German Electricity Grid

A government response to a minor interpellation by the party The Left contains interesting information concerning the length of German electricity transmission grid, interconnection capacity with neighbouring countries, the average grid charge for household customers and average costs for grid maintenance in 2012.

1. Length of German Electricity Transmission Grid

According to government information, the German electricity transmission grid comprised 34,780 km in 2012. Due to the fact that transmission towers often support cables belonging to different electrical circuits (often with varying voltage levels) the surface area covered totals almost 18,000 km.

2. Import and Export Capacities with Neighbouring Countries

The Left had asked for information on the installed transmission capacity between the sixteen German states (Bundesländer) and with neighbouring countries.

Government responded by saying the capacity between the Bundesländer was usually not a useful parameter for grid expansion. Hence it was mostly not known. Besides, installed capacity could not be equated with the available capacity as the N-1 criterion, which expresses the ability of the transmission system to lose a linkage without causing an overload failure elsewhere, had to be taken into consideration, reducing available capacity. Hence so-called net transfer capacities (NTC) had been established with the neighbouring countries, except for Germany and Belgium due to a lack of interconnectors and Germany and Austria since bottlenecks have so far not occurred.

The government published the following tables showing the median import and export transmission capacities:

Import Capacity

Import Capacity MW Net Median Transmission Capacity 2012 Net Median Transmission Capacity 2013
NL -> D  2,314.83  2,291.11
CZ/PL -> D  2,667.21  2,814.83
FR -> D  1,800.00 1,790.46
DK -> D 1,334.16 1,219.81
CH -> D 4,000.00 4,000.00
SE -> D 457.00 481.65
Total  12,573.19 12,597.85

Export Capacity

Export Capacity MW Net Median Transmission Capacity 2012 Net Median Transmission Capacity 2013
NL -> D  2,276.65  2,220.70
CZ/PL -> D  1,597.87  1,662.77
FR -> D  2,603.07 2,562.88
DK -> D 1,442.47 1,510.44
CH -> D 895.63 964.72
SE -> D 375.72 312.45
Total  12,573.19 12,597.85

3. Average Grid Charges for Household Customers

The average grid charges for household customers connected to the low voltage level with an average annual consumption of 3,500 kWh amounted to 6.56 ct/kWh in 2014, 15% of which were attributable to the transmission grids. The information could not be further broken down to the sixteen German states as the electricity grids of provider often crossed the borders of the federal states, government said.

4. Maintenance Costs of the German Transmission Grid

Maintenance costs for the German transmission grid totalled EUR 185 million in 2012, equalling average costs of EUR 5,175/km, the government said. Depending on the transmission grid costs varied from EUR 2,100/km to 8,800/km.

5. State of the German Grid

Regarding the age of the German high-voltage power lines and the number of kilometers of 220/380 kV power lines that were dismantled since 1990 it did not have information, the government also said.

Source: Deutscher Bundestag

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