The energy system of the future

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: 

The key element, hydrogen

Hydrogen is an energy carrier of central importance for linking sectors. It can be used in mobility, in the industrial sector and in the heating sector. Hydrogen technology can: 


  • Use electricity from renewable energy sources in an electrolyser,
  • store energy in power-to-gas applications,
  • be used for industrial processes (for example instead of natural gas).
  • Hydrogen is also a starting material for synthetic gases, synthetic fuels and basic chemicals such as methane or methanol. 

Active consumer load management

In times when wind and solar do not produce enough electricity to meet all the demand, it is important that energy consumers can quickly react and reduce their demand. This type of reaction to a changing power supply is called load management, demand response or demand-side management. The energy-intensive industrial sector in particular offers the possibility of shifting larger amounts of electricity and thus relieving the energy system spontaneously or over a longer period of time. 

Shaping the energy system of the future together

NRW.Energy4Climate is actively shaping the energy system of the future. However, this cannot be done without the citizens of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is therefore of central importance to involve the population in the energy transition and to generate acceptance for the tasks that lie ahead of us. 

New ideas and technical innovations are indispensable

In addition to collaboration with citizens, new ideas and technical innovations are indispensable for a successful transformation to the energy system of the future. Business and society, along with science and research, must develop new, innovative technologies and business models that meet the demands of a greenhouse gas-neutral energy system. 

Find out more on these pages

You want to know more about supply security? Then click here.

You want to learn more about acceptance? Then click here.

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