In a recent judgment (judgment dated May 3, 2011, file no. I-21 U 94/10), the Higher Regional Court of Hamm simplified the regulations for the grid connection of systems for the generation of electricity from renewable energies. It decided that network operators are generally obliged to connect to the grid at the nearest connection point.

A wind-energy system operator claimed damages from the grid operator due to connection of parts of the system at a more distant grid connection point whilst part of the system had been connected at a closer grid connection point. The wind energy system operator argued that the entire wind energy system should have been connected at the closer grid connection point even if this had entailed higher costs for the grid operator.

The grid operator believed that – in accordance with the jurisprudence of the German Federal Court of Justice based on the provisions of the former German Renewable Energies Act (EEG) – an economic cost evaluation was permitted even if the connection of wind energy plants at alternative connection points with regard to the same grid was at stake.

The Court found for the operator of the wind-energy system. It stated that the legal situation had changed due to the amendment of the German Renewable Energies Act (EEG) as of January 1, 2009. According to this, contrary to the former legal situation, a comparison of costs of various connection alternatives – in case connection points in the same grid were concerned - was not relevant anymore. In doing so, the Higher Regional Court of Hamm contradicts the opinion of network operators, according to which the rules for the grid connection have not changed due to the amendment of the Renewable Energies Act.