Grid approval speed-up backed

Germany’s cabinet has approved an executive order to bundle the approval process for major high-voltage power lines at the federal network agency, aimed at speeding the grid upgrade needed to integrate a soaring renewables output.

“A speedy build-up of the grid is decisive for the success of the energy turnaround [away from nuclear power],” says economics minister Philipp Rösler. “Through the bundling of planning and approval proceedings at the federal network agency, a decision in a one-stop process is guaranteed and the proceeding will be further simplified.”

So far, the planning of high-voltage power lines crossing several states has been slowed by the need to get projects approved by authorities from various states.

In parallel, federal parliament is debating a proposal for legislation to speed up the construction of 36 high-voltage power lines at a cost of about €10bn ($13bn) to better transport an increasing amount of wind power from coastal regions to energy-thirsty industrial centres to the south. A vote is expected in May.