* Enough reserves in place to prevent blackouts
* Flawed renewable system could be adjusted
* Investors eye German grid projects
(Adds details, background, quotes)
BERLIN, Jan 22 Germany's power grid is adequate
in the current winter season as enough reserve capacities are in
place to shield the country from disruptions after it switched
off large parts of its nuclear generation plants.
"The power plant situation is under control, even if tight,"
said Jochen Homann, president of the Bundesnetzagentur, on the
sidelines of an industry conference.
German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur had secured 2.5
gigawatt (GW) of additional power plant assurances, which can be
mobilised when high demand in the cold season overstretches
So far, this has not been the case in the winter season,
which ends in March or April. But as producers were thinking of
idling unprofitable power plants, the system might need
additional reserves in the coming winters.
Homann also said that some parts of Germany's renewable
energy subsidising system could be changed in the short term,
although national elections in the autumn will likely prevent an
"Some corrections are thinkable even before the election,"
He said this applied to compensation for renewable power
paid at times of no demand, and what he called exaggerated
payments to decentralised power producers, on the basis that
they help avoid investment in transmission grids.
"It is about costs which run into a triple-digit million
euros figures," he said.
Homann's authority oversees a complex system of feeding
green power into transmission grids in a politically desired
switch by Europe's biggest economy to increasingly rely on
energy from renewable sources.
INVESTORS LINE UP FOR POWER GRID PROJECTS
But the system has been revealing flaws. Rather than
boosting a fledgling industry, as it was conceived, it now
generates run-away costs for consumers by overcompensating
Homann said another example were solar panels, where Germany
added 7.6 gigawatts last year, arriving at 36 GW altogether.
"It cannot be ruled out that there will be another big
addition this year," he said.
The total bill for supporting renewable energy rose to 20
billion euros in 2012 from 17.1 billion in 2011, with solar
power costing over half the total, although it only contributed
less than five percent of power supply.
The government last summer introduced a solar subsidy cap at
52 GW, after which special subsidies will stop.
Homann also said that investors from Germany and abroad had
been asking the authority he heads about possibilities to put
money into power grid projects onshore and for offshore wind.
"More than a handful of potential investors appeared."
He said that this resulted partly as Germany had cleared
liability hurdles for offshore wind cable projects.
($1 = 0.7526 euros)
(Reporting Vera Eckert, Christoph Steitz and Tom Kaeckenhoff;
editing by Keiron Henderson)