Euro power grid plan

Bruederle love -- with the Chancellor
German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle has called for expansion of the European power grid to be accelerated, to allow cross-border power trading in electricity. This will delight energy companies, which trade far more power than they actualy deliver. Trading can inflate the price of power to the end user as it is whisked across the continent, adding margin wherever it goes.

In a document, obtained by Reuters on Sunday, Bruederle also argues for a faster planning process and measures to gain public acceptance for the construction of power lines. He says Germany must expand its power grid to handle green energy in a project similar in scale to its massive reconstruction of infrastructure in the former communist East, according to a government paper.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Thursday for Germany to speed up its move towards renewable energy after she suspended the government’s nuclear policy earlier in the week due to the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima complex.

Germany is expanding electricity generation at windfarms off its northern coast. But much of its population and industry lie inland to the south, so the power is in the wrong place. The German grid needs expanding to carry the green power says the paper.

“Today the challenge is to provide a power grid infrastructure suitable for the conversion of the energy supply.”But Bruderle and the power indistry know that they have to overcome opposition of they are to succeed in their aims.

“A package of measures should ensure a reduction in the length of planning and approval procedures, ensure more public acceptance of power line construction and achieve optimal conditions for investment,” said Bruederle.

Merkel suspended on Tuesday a policy agreed only last autumn on prolonging the life of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants. Instead, she ordered the seven oldest reactors be closed for safety checks during the three month moratorium.

She described nuclear as a transitional energy source as Germany moves away from fossil fuels to renewable sources.

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