Grid expansion measures

How the Network Development Plan describes electricity projects and measures

The Network Development Plan Electricity (NDP) describes all necessary grid expansion measures to meet the future transport needs grid. The four transmission system operators (TSOs) first create the so-called Scenario Framework as the basis for the NDP. The NDP examines the transport requirements of the grid over a defined period and based on various possible development paths – called scenarios. The identified grid expansion measures are depicted as projects in the Network Development Plan Electricity. Each individual project can comprise a number of associated measures. In addition to power line measures in AC and DC technology, the grid expansion measures also include facilities such as transformers or facilities for reactive power compensation.

Initial grid or expansion grid?

One important feature differentiating the projects is whether they belong to the initial grid or the expansion grid. The initial grid refers to the existing grid plus all the measures currently in implementation that can be considered as binding. The necessity of these measures has already been confirmed in some cases by the responsible approval authorities or the legislature. Other measures are derived from legal obligations or result from major infrastructure projects (highway and airport expansion measures, etc.). In contrast, the expansion grid contains additional projects that have been identified as conducive to achieving a grid capable of meeting future demands. These expansion grid projects are based on the three different development paths detailed in the Scenario Framework (scenarios A, B and C).

Detailed information

The depicted grid expansion measures are the result of complex simulation processes that build upon each other and take into account various framework conditions. The path from the Scenario Framework to an identified grid expansion measure is explained here in detail.

For example, these scenarios are based on various assumptions regarding the expansion of renewable energy infrastructure or future power consumption. The transmission system operators therefore develop a specific set of measures for each of these scenarios that includes the optimisation, enhancement or expansion of the corresponding power lines. For this reason, the NDP contains grid expansion measures that are not required for every scenario. The projects are documented in profiles provided in the appendix to the Network Development Plan Electricity.

When will a project identified in the NDP be built?

Before an expansion measure can be implemented, it must pass the legally established way involving various planning and approval procedures. For this reason, the NDP contains measures that are at very different stages of implementation. For a better orientation, the implementation status of each individual measure is generally indicated in the NDP. The various stages range here from “no activity yet” to “implemented”.

Additional content

More information on participation opportunities can be found here:

The implementation status often also provides information on opportunities for public participation still exist for citizens, associations and interest groups for a specific project. These involvement processes are managed by the responsible authority or the responsible TSO.

Implementation status of the expansion measures

1: Preparation for planning and approval procedures

The transmission system operator (TSO) responsible for the measure or project creates the application documents for the federal sectoral planning or the regional planning procedure. Here the TSO indicates, for example, any identifiable impacts on people or the environment.

2: In the regional planning procedure / federal sectoral planning

The TSO has submitted the application to the responsible authority. The aim of a regional planning or federal sectoral planning procedure is to find the rough path of a route corridor. A variety of public interest groups and the public are involved in this process.

3: Before or in the planning approval procedure / approval according to the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG)

For the planning approval procedure, the TSO prepares another application. This application contains detailed descriptions of the project. These include the technology to be used and the exact path of the power line, including the specific pylon locations or underground cable sections. Environmental impacts are also explained in this application. During this procedure, anyone can share their opinions on the in public presented documents. The aim is to consider and evaluate all interests and concerns comprehensively as possible.

4: Approved or in construction

The approval for construction of a power line is granted at the end of all planning and approval procedures by means of the planning approval decision by the responsible authority. This decision serves as a building permit and defines precisely how and where the power line may be built.

5: Implemented

The project has been completed and is in operation.

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