A rapid network expansion is key for the Energiewende to succeed. In order for this to happen, a transparent, justifiable and dialogue-oriented network plan is necessary. An important step was already taken with the 2012 Network Development Plan (NEP) for electricity, and the government cabinet’s subsequent approval of a draft law covering needs for the expansion (BBPIG).
In the course of this process, a number of areas for improvement became clear:
- By current law, a new NEP must be devised each year, and every three years a new plan for needs. This has resulted in four different overlapping processes. (The law-making process for the BBPIG, the NEP 2013, the creation of scenario frameworks for the NEP 2014 and the NEP for offshore wind). All participants agree that a new procedure must be found.
- In devising the NEP, no alternative scenarios have been taken into account (for example, alternative locations for renewable energy plants and conventional power plants, efficient regulation of renewable energy plants). This has reduced acceptance of the NEP among environmental groups, and lawsuits against the BBPIG are expected.
At the moment, there is no concept for an alternative planning process that could be used for the impending network development planning. Agora Energiewende and BET have filled this gap. Together with other experts and stakeholders, they have worked out an alternative approach, which is scientifically based, accepted and can be implemented transparently. The methods were tested using models and scientifically commentated.