Electricity networks

Most of the electricity from renewable energy sources so far, is produced in regions with good wind conditions, e.g. in northern and eastern Germany. The main centers of power consumption are the densely populated regions and industrial sites in the western and southern parts of Germany. This gap together with regional variations in renewable power production are causing a surplus of electricity in some regions that must either be stored or transmitted into other regions. Therefore it is necessary to bring together power generation with energy demand by converting and extending the supply networks.

High-voltage lines - impacts

The construction and maintenance of new high-voltage lines have impacts on landscapes and habitats of animal and plant species. Building new overhead power lines within the transmission networks increases the risk of countless storks, herons, ducks and wading birds suffering fatal collisions every year. Underground cables are also causing environmental problems. For safety reasons corridors must be kept free of deep-rooted woods, leading to aisles in forested areas. While digging cable trenches, impacts on the soil structure and fauna as well as the soil water balance are inevitable.

Solutions

The demand for new power lines should be limited to the amount necessary for a transition in energy policy. This can be achieved in the course of demand planning processes. Measures for reinforcement and optimization of existing networks as well as construction of lines parallel to streets and rails should be favored over constructing new lines in the open landscape. In addition, innovative technologies and, in suitable areas, the use of underground cables should be given more consideration. In order to reduce the risk of bird collisions at overhead power lines there is an urgent need for them to be constructed and equipped with markers. Furthermore, biodiversity can be supported by nature conservation measures in the context of corridor maintenance.