On Friday, German public broadcaster BR24 reported that the German government is predicting that electricity rationing could become unavoidable as part of a new energy transition strategy.
The outlet reported that as local energy grids begin to fail to cover rising demand, which analysts expect may surge by more than 10% in the coming years, driven by a changeover to clean energy, the German Federal Network Agency is considering limiting the use of energy in peak hours to remove some stress off the electrical grid.
The increase in demand is predicted to arise primarily from the increase in the use of new technologies, such as more electric vehicles which will need charging, as well as more heat pumps, which will require more electricity. However local networks are not always constructed to supply such high loads. In addition, networks have often not been expanded efficiently, with some currently lacking 14,000 kilometers of infrastructure.
Klaus Miller, the head of the Federal Network Agency, has suggested German network operators should restrict the use of electricity at peak hours to avoid any risk of overload, starting in January 2024.
In an interview with BR24, he said, “If it is proven that this network overload could occur, then the distribution network operator has the right to dim.”
As the government is engaged in attempting to adapt the nation’s power systems to support the surge in EVs, the country is also engaged in the challenges associated with shifting the nation’s heating infrastructure away from oil and gas. As the nation seeks to replace hydrocarbon heating with electric heat pumps, it has to confront the fact that the cables and transformers presently in use are not capable of servicing the needs of the new technologies.
The Federal Network Agency said, “So that there are no delays when connecting the heat pumps and charging devices, the distribution system operator also needs an instrument for control,” to BR’s political magazine, Kontrovers.
The outlet concluded that the only feasible plan to keep the power networks up and running is to take heat pumps and electric vehicles and remove them from the grid during periods of peak usage, adding that the Federal Network Agency is presently working out the details of the new regulations which will do just that.