HANNOVER (dpa-AFX) - According to Lower Saxony's Minister President Stephan Weil, the expansion of the power grid with high-voltage lines should continue to take place underground. "Power highways above ground are off the table," said the SPD politician. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) promised this during consultations between the federal and state governments in Berlin on Wednesday. This is good news for the people of Lower Saxony, said Weil, as no other federal state would have to have so many high-voltage power lines running through it.

The acceptance of the population is a decisive factor for the expansion of the grid, said the head of government of Lower Saxony: "Acceptance is still the most effective way to speed up the construction of large transmission lines. Countless protests and lengthy legal proceedings can be prevented in this way."

According to the State Chancellery, lines above ground would be 70 meters wide and the pylons 70 meters high. The Hanover conurbation in particular would have been severely affected. For this reason, the state government had advocated the continuation of underground cabling.

According to a report in the "Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung", the energy industry had called on Chancellor Scholz to advocate for priority to be given to above-ground lines. The newspaper quoted a letter from the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) to the Chancellor as saying that the legislator should take the opportunity to switch to overhead lines for the East-West Link, North-West Link and South-West Link routes. The nationwide underground cable priority has been in force since the beginning of 2016./cwe/DP/mis