MUNICH (dpa-AFX) - Dividing Germany into two electricity price zones would have negative economic consequences, according to a study by the consulting firm Prognos. "However, the prerequisite for maintaining the single zone is that the grid expansion is driven forward quickly," says the study, which was commissioned by the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw) and published on Tuesday. According to the study, the division of the electricity market into a northern and a southern part could lead to higher electricity prices in the south, a lack of planning security for companies and a reduction in the liquidity of the German electricity market.

Up to now, the price of electricity in Germany has not been determined by where it is produced. As long as the power plant operators offer electricity at the same time, they also achieve the same price. The division of Germany into two electricity price zones has been discussed in specialist circles for several years because the energy transition has led to an imbalance in the electricity supply: In southern Germany, with its large industrial sites, electricity production is no longer sufficient to cover demand, while in the north more electricity is produced than consumed.

According to the study, a geographical division of the market could cause electricity prices to fall in the north and rise in the south. However, a division could also encourage power plant operators to build renewable energy plants in the south and west. "A closer analysis of an electricity price zone split quickly shows that the negative effects outweigh the positive ones," said vbw Managing Director Bertram Brossardt.

While the Prognos consultants have reservations about the division into two electricity price zones, they are in favor of new incentives for the construction of gas-fired power plants. These are necessary in order to manage the phase-out of coal, according to the study. Hydrogen-fired power plants in particular could play an important role in times of low wind and solar power due to their flexibility./tre/DP/zb