December 7, 2018 / 11:58 AM / 4 months ago

EU tells German grid operator TenneT to raise access for Nordic power

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday it had told German grid operator TenneT to increase cross-border electricity flows between Denmark and Germany after Nordic producers complained of limited access.

Producers in Denmark, Sweden and Norway have long complained of limited access to the power link between Western Denmark and Northern Germany.

EU antitrust authorities have been investigating since March whether limits placed by German grid operator TenneT on cross-border electricity capacity with Denmark breaches EU antitrust rules.

The Commission, which rules on competition issues in the 28-member European Union, said in a statement more cheap Nordic power from renewable resources should be allowed to flow to Germany, the EU’s biggest power market.

“This is fully in line with our ambition to make the European energy market more competitive and integrated, and to facilitate the EU’s transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources to the benefit of consumers,” said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The Commission told TenneT to make available within six months a minimum hourly capacity of 1,300 megawatts of the Western Denmark/Germany interconnector.

This is 75 percent of the maximum technical capacity and equivalent to the generation output of one big nuclear power station.

The probe had entailed hearing the views of TenneT TSO GmbH, subsidiary of the Dutch TenneT group whose transmission area borders on Denmark, on technical capabilities and those of Danish power producers wanting to supply more to Germany.

Following the planned expansion of the interconnector in 2020 and 2022, TenneT will have to successively raise the guaranteed hourly capacity to 2,625 MW by January 1, 2026, the EU said.

TenneT may reduce the capacity only in a limited number of exceptional circumstances.

The commitments will remain in force for nine years and breaches can be fined.

The western Danish Jutland peninsula acts as a bridge for Norwegian hydroelectric power. Separately, TenneT is partner to subsea cable projects that could supply Germany in the future, complementing the Danish route.

Nordic hydro power prices differ from those on the continent derived still largely from fossil fuels, depending on weather patterns. [EL/NOR][EL/DE]

Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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