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Germany’s $123 Million Power Line Aids Nuclear Exit, Merkel Says

By Stefan Nicola - Dec 18, 2012 - Bloomberg

German  Chancellor Angela Merkel said a $123 million electricity line that took a decade to develop will improve supply security, transmitting renewable energy from north to south and helping the nation phase out nuclear power.

The line, stretching 88 kilometers (55 miles) across two states from Kruemmel near Hamburg to Schwerin, will ensure more efficient distribution of power from wind farms in the north, Erwin Sellering, governor of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state, said today at the line’s opening in Schwerin. “On windy days, turbines won’t have to be shut off any more,” he said.

Power supply has moved to the center of Germany’s political agenda since Merkel decided in 2011 to replace nuclear reactors with more fossil-fired plants and a growing share of clean- energy sources. The Bundesnetzagentur regulator has called on grid operators to stabilize the network as the country adds wind farms and solar parks, whose output varies with the weather.

“The acceptance of renewables depends on our managing to bring power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed,” Merkel said in Schwerin. Germany needs to build “thousands of kilometers” of new lines and ensure it’s done efficiently to keep costs in check, she said.

The new link will also boost security of supply in Hamburg, home to Germany’s largest port, said Boris Schucht, head of grid company 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, which invested 93 million euros ($123 million) in the line. 50Hertz operates about 9,800 kilometers of networks mainly in northeastern Germany.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net