Power plants are taking on a new, important role in the energy transition.
The job of conventional power plants will fundamentally change in the energy system of the future. In situations where not enough electricity is produced from renewable energy sources to meet demand, sufficient power plant capacities that can be flexibly used to secure the energy supply must continue to be available. Conversely, these will be shut down when enough electricity is being generated from renewables.
A particularly important role for future climate neutrality will be played by flexible gas-fired power plants that can be operated using renewable gases. Numerous research institutes and companies are working on innovative concepts that make it possible to also run thermal power plants on renewable energy, such as green hydrogen. The great advantage here is that we could continue to use existing infrastructure.
Innovative concepts are needed to meet the new demands placed on power plants during the energy transition. These are currently being researched in pilot plants, particularly in the following areas:
North Rhine-Westphalia is a strong centre of research in this regard. Projects are currently being carried out at RWTH Aachen University, the Jülich Research Centre, TU Dortmund University, the University of Duisburg-Essen, Fraunhofer IEG, the Wuppertal Institute and the University of Wuppertal.
The energy system of the future will have to meet its energy needs using renewable energy sources. This requires measures such as storage facility expansion, sector coupling and completely defossilising the energy supply system. There is still a long way to go. NRW.Energy4Climate supports this by initiating innovative and interdisciplinary research to prepare conventional power plant parks for their new tasks through sustainable solutions.
With its numerous power plant locations, North Rhine-Westphalia can make a significant contribution to a secure, environmentally-friendly and affordable energy supply. Over the long term, individual power plant sites can also be preserved as thermal storage power plants through sustainable subsequent use. Thermal power plants will thus continue to play a decisive role in the transformation of the energy system.