BERLIN, May 29 (Reuters) - Germany’s federal power network regulator said on Tuesday it wanted to speed up the switch from nuclear to renewable energy by moving faster to expand the grid, in the hope of avoiding a “power gap” that would hurt Europe’s largest economy.
“We want to speed up the switch to renewable energy and include as much of the whole of society as possible in this procedure,” Jochen Homann, head of the authority called Bundesnetzagentur, said at a joint news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He added that without an expansion of the grid network, progress made in the renewable energy sector would be lost.
Network operators handed Merkel a plan for grid expansion, which will lead to a binding government proposal by the year’s end.
Since Merkel’s abrupt policy reversal last year to shut more than half a dozen nuclear plants and speed up a full nuclear phase-out after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, her government has failed to set out a clear plan to manage the shift.
Industry has warned of power shortages and companies are experiencing problems with plans for offshore wind power due partly to the insufficient grid.
Inadequate transportation and distribution networks are among the main hurdles in boosting renewable sources. Questions about the liability for delays or damage and over who should bear the burden of the immense up-front financing are deterring potential investors, and the offshore wind sector is a major victim. (Reporting By Vera Eckert and Tom Kaeckenhoff, Writing by Sarah Marsh, editing by Jane Baird)