BONN (dpa-AFX) - On Friday, the Federal Network Agency presented new plans for the expansion of the electricity transmission grid, the so-called electricity highways. According to the plans, five new direct current connections with a capacity of two gigawatts each are planned on land. Three of these will run north-south and two east-west. Further lines are also planned to connect wind farms at sea.

According to the authority, the so-called Electricity Network Development Plan 2023-2037/2045 (NEP Electricity) defines the urgent need for expansion in the electricity transmission grid. This was preceded by a months-long process in which all interest groups and the public had the opportunity to comment. The plan serves as the basis for a new version of the Federal Requirements Plan, which is set out in a law.

"Electricity highways" for transporting electricity over long distances

The expansion of the so-called high-voltage grid is about ensuring that new lines bring climate-neutral electricity to where it is needed - primarily from the north to the south. The plan describes which transmission grid is necessary for a complete conversion of the energy system to renewable energies by 2045. In the regions, electricity distribution grids with lower voltages will then take over the energy supplied by the "electricity highways" and transmit it to the points of consumption.

"This grid development plan shows for the first time what kind of electricity grid we need to complete the energy transition," explained Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Government, in a statement. All projects proposed by the four transmission system operators have been carefully examined. "For a climate-neutral electricity system, we need a considerable number of additional power lines by 2045," he emphasized. Only the start and end points of the lines have been defined in the grid development plan. "The exact route of the lines has not yet been determined, but will be determined in subsequent procedural steps."

For onshore expansion, the new NDP Electricity includes around 4,800 kilometers of new lines and around 2,500 kilometers of reinforcement of existing connections compared to the existing Federal Requirements Plan.

The five new lines, so-called high-voltage direct current transmission links, are to run from Schleswig-Holstein to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (DC32), from Lower Saxony to Hesse (DC35), from Lower Saxony to Saxony (DC40), from Lower Saxony to Baden-Württemberg (DC41) and from Schleswig-Holstein to Baden-Württemberg (DC42). The new NDP also contains 116 additional AC connections compared to the current Federal Requirements Plan.

Additional line needed to supply Bavaria

The Federal Network Agency also includes a project, known as P540, which envisages an AC line between Thuringia and Bavaria. "The calculations of the Federal Network Agency have shown that additional transmission capacities are required to supply Bavaria," it said. The transmission system operators had therefore subsequently submitted the project during the consultation period.

According to the Federal Network Agency, it is currently preparing an environmental report on the Federal Requirements Plan, which includes the expected environmental impact of the projects. The publication of the environmental report is planned for the end of May.

In the grid development plan, the four transmission system operators Amprion, TransnetBW, 50Hertz and Tennet determine every two years which measures are required to ensure reliable grid operation. According to the Federal Ministry of Economics, the transmission grid in Germany currently has a total length of 37,000 kilometers./tob/DP/ngu