Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency
Photo: Julia Steinigeweg / DER SPIEGEL
Electric cars are booming, as are heat pumps - which is why many households need significantly more electricity.
Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency, is now warning of an overload of the power grid in Germany.
"If a large number of new heat pumps and charging stations continue to be installed, then overload problems and local power failures in the distribution network are to be feared if we don't act," said Müller of the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" (FAS).
The Bonn authority considers the local low-voltage local networks to be particularly prone to failure.
The network agency has therefore published a key issues paper that provides for temporary electricity rationing for heat pumps and electric car charging stations in times of high network utilization.
According to “FAS”, grid operators should then forcibly and centrally throttle the power supply of the systems.
The plans for electricity rationing should therefore come into force on January 1, 2024.
However, the heaters and chargers should not be completely disconnected from the power supply in critical phases, Müller told the newspaper: "We want to guarantee a minimum supply at all times."
Even with electricity rationing, private charging stations would be able to obtain enough electricity to charge the battery of an electric car within three hours for a range of 50 kilometers.
In addition, "almost trouble-free continued operation for a large number of heat pumps" should remain possible.
The board of directors of the Düsseldorf energy group Eon, Thomas König, meanwhile called for a greatly accelerated expansion and modernization of the local and regional power grids in the »FAS«.
He referred to numerous applications for the connection of new systems and to waiting times of up to eight months for the systems to be connected to the power grid.
However, investments would be slowed down by lengthy approval procedures for construction measures lasting up to twelve years.
"That's completely out of the question," said King.