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A spatially explicit assessment of middle and low voltage grid requirements in Bavaria until 2050
Geoscape, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 88-97
The energy transition towards high shares of renewables and the continued urbanization process have a direct and strong impact on the shape and characteristics of the electricity transmission and distribution systems. At the continental and national scale, improved high voltage grids should allow the transmission and balance of electricity from hot-spots of variable renewable energy generation installations to demand centres. At the regional and municipal scale, the medium and low voltage grids should be capable of bringing sufficient electricity to users and allow the integration of distributed renewable generation installations. While data on the transmission systems is widely available, spatial and attribute data of the medium and mainly the low voltage grids are scarce. Additionally, while there are plenty of studies on the requirements of the grid to allow the energy transition, there is very little information on the necessary transformation of the grid due to changes generated by the expected urbanization process. This study relies on a data set that estimates the topology of the medium and low voltage grids of Bavaria (Germany) as well as data from the LUISA territorial modelling platform of the European Commission to calculate key figures of grid requirements depending on population and land use for the current case and the decades to come. Typologies of grid requirements are proposed based on a statistical analysis of population and land use data of each square kilometre of the federal state. These typologies are extrapolated to changes in the structure of settlements that are expected in the years 2030 and 2050. Results are presented using maps with expected absolute values of grid requirements and their temporal changes for each square kilometre of the project area. Grid requirements are expected to increase in cities and to be reduced in most of the rural areas. The largest changes are expected to take place in the suburbs of the major cities.