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17 August, 2015

German winds make Central Europe shiver

Germany’s shift to renewable energy has been hailed as an historic policy move — but its neighbors don’t like it.

The country’s move away from nuclear power and increase in production of wind or solar energy has pushed it to the point where its existing power grids can’t always cope. And it’s the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France that have taken the brunt.

If there is a strong blow of the wind in the North, we get it, we have the blackout,” Martin Povejšil, the Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the EU said at a briefing in Brussels recently.

Germany’s north-south power lines have too limited a capacity to carry all the power that is produced from wind turbines along the North Sea to industrial states like Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg and onto Austria. That means the extra electricity is shunted through the Czech Republic and Poland.

To put an end to the often unexpected power flows from Germany — so-called loop flows — the countries are taking the matter into their own hands. Concerned about the stability of their own grids, additional costs and the ability to export their own power, the Czechs, for example, are installing devices to block the power from 2016 onwards.

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