Transport networks

How electricity, gas and hydrogen get from A to B.

Transport networks for electricity, gas and hydrogen are an indispensable component of the energy transition because they connect producers and consumers over long distances. They must be considered holistically and expanded and converted in a way that ensures successful long-term transformation in the energy sector. 

Network infrastructure is needed for energy to reach consumers from where it is converted and supplied. Electricity transport networks are referred to as transmission grids, while gas transport networks are called transmission pipelines.


Transmission grids

Transmission grids are central to the energy supply of the future

Transmission grids ensure secure power supply. They continuously balance generation and consumption, since electricity cannot be stored in the grid. Transmission grids can transport renewable energy over long distances and thus partially compensate for volatile generation. The increasing share of renewable energy has changed the job of transmission grids. They will continue to be an important part of the energy system of the future because they:


  • transport electricity from renewable energy sources to where it is needed, 
  • connect northern and southern Germany and enable a common energy market with neighbouring countries, 
  • bring wind power inland from offshore plants, including to North Rhine-Westphalia, and 
  • ensure grid quality, stability and supply security by efficiently using various system services in the interconnected system, such as black start capability and short circuit power.



Grid stability despite volatile renewable energy sources

Transmission system operators already have to make increased efforts to ensure grid stability in the age of renewable energy. As part of grid congestion management, grid operators take a variety of stabilising measures such as redispatch and feed-in management.

In redispatch, which was used until September 2021, transmission system operators directed large, conventional power plants with an installed capacity of at least ten megawatts to shift planned power generation between different power plants in order to prevent grid bottlenecks. The enhanced Redispatch 2.0 now in force affects plants with an installed capacity of 100 kilowatts or more, including renewable energy sources and CHP plants. In addition to transmission grid operators, distribution system operators can now also direct the redispatch.

Several solutions already exist to reduce grid congestion management measures while maintaining grid stability:


  • Demand-driven grid expansion
  • Increased expansion of storage facilities
  • Holistic view of energy and linking the heat, industry and transport sectors (sector coupling)
  • Flexible design of power demand in terms of demand-side management


Natural gas networks

Climate-neutral gases for the gas supply of tomorrow

Until now, fossil natural gas containing CO2 has been transported in gas pipelines. However, the existing gas network also allows the transport of climate-neutral gases such as biomethane. Hydrogen from renewable energy sources can also be transported using these pipelines – after a gas network conversion. It is also possible to blend green gases such as biomethane or hydrogen into the natural gas network. Pilot projects are investigating the effect of admixing hydrogen on end-user devices.


Transporting and storing gas using gas networks

Gas networks can both transport gases and store them. Unlike power grids, generation and consumption in gas networks are not dependent on time. Furthermore, gas storage facilities can be integrated into gas networks to increase their capacity. 

Hydrogen networks

Hydrogen can be stored and used in many ways

Green hydrogen can be used in many areas, such as transport, the heating sector and the industrial sector. Hydrogen can also be used to generate power, where appropriate. Moreover, it can be stored in large quantities, making it a central component of the energy system of the future. 


European hydrogen network in planning

To meet the growing demand for hydrogen, imports are needed to supplement hydrogen produced locally in North Rhine-Westphalia. The North Rhine-Westphalia Hydrogen Roadmap predicts that in 2050, approximately 18 of the 104 terawatt hours of hydrogen required will be produced within North Rhine-Westphalia. The remainder will probably be imported from windy northern Germany, neighbouring European countries or non-European export regions. This will require expanded transport infrastructure to meet demand.


Click here for the North Rhine-Westphalia Hydrogen Roadmap.


Based on the existing natural gas transmission network, European transmission system operators are already planning a hydrogen transport network known as the European Hydrogen Backbone. This European hydrogen transport network should make the international exchange of hydrogen economically feasible and contribute to achieving the climate targets. 


Further information is available at


Hydrogen compensates for the volatility of renewable energy

Hydrogen can help to better integrate energy from wind, water and sun into the power system. Transporting large quantities of hydrogen can offer significant advantages over transporting additional electricity. This is especially true if hydrogen can be transported in existing natural gas pipelines. Another advantage is that renewable power that cannot be integrated into the power grid can be used for this. 

There are challenges to the green transformation – but they can be overcome. The solution is to look at transport and distribution networks holistically, as well as network sectors such as the electricity, gas and hydrogen networks. This is how the energy transition can be a success.


Your contact

Portrait des Projektmanagers für Energiewirtschaft Matthias Schneider vor einer Glasfront.

Matthias Schneider

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-42

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Portrait der Projektmanagerin für Energiewirtschaft Lisa Schmitt vor einer stylischen Glasfront.

Lisa Schmitt

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: 49 211 8220 864-56

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Jan-Bernd Kruse

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-60

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