North Rhine-Westphalia wants to become climate neutral by 2045. This requires an energy system centred around renewable energy that intelligently connects the various sectors: an energy system of the future.
To ensure that the energy system of the future is as stable as our current system and can guarantee a consistently high level of supply security, it needs a range of “flexibilisation options”. Only in this way can energy always be supplied when it is needed – regardless of whether renewable energy sources are supplying enough at that moment or not.
Secure energy through flexibilisation
Central flexibilisation options include electricity, heat and gas storage facilities. They ensure that excess supply is not wasted when renewables overproduce electricity. Instead, storage facilities hold the energy until it is actually needed. Making demand more flexible is also becoming increasingly important. This is because further greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided if electricity-intensive processes occur at times when the supply of renewable energy is particularly high. Other important flexibilisation options arise from linking sectors. This happens by exchanging energy between different application areas.
Examples of applications to link sectors are:
- Power-to-gas applications,
- heat pumps,
- combined heat and power plants,
- fuel cell heating systems,
- district heating and
- electric and fuel cell vehicles.
The different sectors must be more strongly interlinked in order to also use the electricity generated from renewable energy for heat supply, mobility and the industrial sector. To achieve this, significant expansion of the energy infrastructure in particular is required, i.e. the grids and storage facilities. Additionally, processes must become more digitalised and intelligently connected. This is one of the great challenges of the energy transition.
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia specifies the measures and goals in the NRW Energy Supply Strategy and NRW Hydrogen Roadmap. What is important in the transformation of the energy system of the future is: