Flexible power plants

Power plants are taking on a new, important role in the energy transition.

Innovative technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and biomass plants are increasingly shaping the energy supply system. This change not only demonstrates the progress of the energy transition, but also deeply affects existing energy generation structures. 

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. 


Using existing infrastructure

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

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: 

  • improving essential flexibility parameters,
  • effects on the service life of the plant,
  • developing efficiency concepts for short run times,
  • integrating storage systems,
  • using virtual power plants,
  • effects of fuel selection on plant operation.


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. 


Flexible power plants are an important component of the energy system

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. 

Ihr Kontakt

Akram El-Bahay

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-37

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Portrait des Projektmanagers für Energiewirtschaft Georg Unger. Im Hintergrund ist eine große Glasfront zu sehen.

Georg Unger

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-50

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