Germany Agrees With Czechs on Curbing Cross-Border Power Flows

Germany and the neigboring Czech Republic will regulate cross-border power flows to protect the Czech grid from overloading and reduce the danger of blackouts.

The two countries agreed in principle to install so-called phase-shifting transformers along their common border, German grid operator 50Hertz Transmission GmbH and its Czech counterpart CEPS AS said. They will be put in place by 2016, CEPS said by e-mail. The German grid operator also seeks to sign a binding agreement with Poland before the second half of this year, Volker Kamm, a 50Hertz spokesman, said by phone from Berlin.

Germany currently relies on Polish and Czech grids to ship record electricity output from wind turbines in the country’s north to industrial users in the south, stretching the power grids in the two former communist countries. Installing the phase-shifters would improve security of supply and enable smoother power trading with both countries.

“We’re on the right track,” Kamm said. The interconnector with Poland has often been so strained that power trading wasn’t possible, he said.

The Czech Republic and Poland have threatened to disconnect their grids from Germany entirely during the windiest days. The flows also prevent the Czechs from boosting cross-border trading with Austria, according to Tereza Soukupova, a CEPS spokeswoman.

“We plan to start the construction phase at the beginning of 2016 and switch the phase-shifters on before the end of that year,” she said.

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