To broaden the use of renewable energies beyond the electricity sector to likewise encompass the mobility and thermal energy industries, the “coupling” of each and every sector is a must. Put simply, energy ought to be shared between the electricity, mobility and thermal energy sectors. In the electricity sector, some 35% of energy is currently generated from renewable resources, though in the transport sector this is just 5% and in the thermal energy sector 13%. Energy transition in recent years has plotted a highly successful course in the electricity sector. In other sectors, there remains considerable potential for development and indeed a need.
Solutions for the Energy Transition as a Whole
To bring about a complete energy transition across all three sectors, various solution approaches are being pursued. Numerous pilot projects are currently under way, designed to probe the effectiveness of sector coupling and its technical regulation. Fees and charges for grid utilisation, which continue to heavily limit the financial feasibility of sector coupling are also being looked at closely. The fact that energy produced from fossil fuels in the current climate is generally considerably cheaper than renewable electricity in the mobility and thermal energy markets - given the limited hit on CO2 emissions - has not escaped consideration in this regard.
Storage Technologies for Surplus Electricity
Modern storage technologies can help improve the use of energy produced from renewable resources. These include “Power-to-Gas”, the generation of gaseous energy carriers hydrogen and methane from renewable excess electricity through electrolysis. “Power-To-Heat” is another important direction, the use of excess quantities of electricity in the thermal energy market through the use of controllable heating elements in local thermal storage systems and grids. “Combined heat and power” is another such approach, the coupled generation of electricity and heat, e.g. in cogeneration plants.
Major product “Norddeutsche EnergieWende 4.0 - NEW 4.0 (Northern German Energy Transition)”, under way since the end of 2016 with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the “Smart Energy Showcases” program, involves the topic of “sector coupling” in many of the 100 individual projects. 60 partners from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are working on a blueprint for energy transition. The Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster is responsible for B2B communication for NEW 4.0.