Dutch grid operator Tennet clears way to sell German network

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

Dutch electricity grid company Tennet said on Friday it will now start talks on the possible sale of its German activities to the German state.

The state-owned firm was known to back keeping its network intact but said in a press release on Friday it ‘acknowledges that both the Dutch and German government prefer to fund, control and own their national electricity grid.’

This, the company said, reflects the energy transition and the cost of expanding the grids onshore and offshore, which requires ‘unprecedented capital investments’.

In light of this, the grid operator said it ‘intends to engage in discussions with the German government, to explore the possibility of a full sale of Tennet’s German activities on acceptable terms.’

Such a transaction would enable the creation of two strong national players who would continue to cooperate in driving the energy transition, Tennet said.

The sale, first mooted in the NRC last month, could raise between €20 billion and €25 billion for the treasury, insiders say.

Tennet, which is wholly owned by the Dutch government, acquired 11,000 kilometres of the German electricity grid from EON in 2011 and controls around 9,000 kilometres of the grid in the Netherlands.

The finance ministry is said to have drawn up two scenarios for the sale, one in which Tennet’s German branch is sold off in its entirety and another in which the Dutch government retains a minority shareholding, but Berlin has rejected the second option, the NRC said last month.

The paper said The Hague and Berlin were aiming to reach an agreement by March.

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