The Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency – is launching a study into the linking of the electricity, building, transport and industry energy sectors. The aim of the dena Study Integrated Energy Transition is to make knowledge and information available on the requirements of industry in ensuring the successful development of the second phase of the energy transition. At the same time, the intention is to offer companies guidance by providing a framework for investment and sustainable business models in an integrated energy system.
Jointly with businesses, dena will devise and evaluate various solutions for all sectors. The study will take account of the economic costs, the effects on markets, and social acceptance. The end result will be the development of recommendations and frameworks to ensure climate protection, security of supply and financial success.
“For a successful and affordable energy transition we need a cross-sectoral discourse with stakeholders from all industries concerned. Only in this way can we succeed in drafting a reliable framework through which to shape their future. This is our approach to the study,” says Andreas Kuhlmann, dena’s Chief Executive. “The political objectives for the conversion of the energy system by 2050 have been set. They will fundamentally change the markets and business activities in all sectors. However, there is as yet no consensus as to what infrastructure, networks and conditions will be required to achieve this in the coming years. Also, in view of the growing dynamics of change in the energy transition, a ‘master plan’ leading up to the year 2050 will not be possible. For the huge investments yet to be undertaken, though, we need solutions that are not only dictated by policy, but which are developed jointly by the various stakeholders across different sectors. That is the foundation for investment in infrastructure and new business models, as well as for the opening up of new markets through a pleasingly growing number of companies that want to succeed in shaping the energy transition. This is the only way to identify the most efficient paths and develop successful business strategies for sector coupling or integrated energy transition.”
Important questions on sector coupling remain open for discussion
Reducing greenhouse gases in Germany by 80 per cent or more requires, besides energy efficiency, an increase in the use of electricity from renewable energy sources in all sectors. However, this will increase the need for production, transport and distribution.
Two things need to be examined here: To what extent can a sustainable supply of energy be covered by the electricity system? And what role will the conversion of renewable electricity into synthetic gas (or fuels) play, and with it the use of existing infrastructure for distribution and storage?
A preliminary investigation by dena has shown that so far only a few studies exist that have evaluated all sectors and their interactions. In general, companies’ prospects, practical knowledge and strategic development have been neglected. Also, with respect to infrastructure needs, acceptance and costs, there is too little knowledge for an effective upgrading of the energy system. There are unanswered questions regarding infrastructure for heating, mobility and material use; for example, in the form of grids and storage facilities.
dena Study Integrated Energy Transition
For the dena Study, dena is looking for partners from industry and science between now and 23rd February 2017 who wish to play an active part shaping the energy transition. The intention is to jointly come up with a general framework that will stimulate competition through the most diverse of solutions, while aiming for financial optimisation. Pivotal questions are: What does sector coupling mean for businesses in competition? How can climate protection and financial success be combined? What infrastructure and technology are needed? What regulatory frameworks can be recommended to enable the optimisation of markets?
The dena Study Integrated Energy Transition builds on a meta-study carried out by the Forschungsstelle für Energienetze und Energiespeicher (FENES) – Research Centre for Power Grids and Energy Storage – and the Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule (OTH) – East Bavarian University of Technology – Regensburg. Commissioned by dena, both institutions had analysed 28 studies by the end of 2016 in relation to sector coupling.