The ‘NEW 4.0 – Norddeutsche EnergieWende’ (Northern German Energy Transition) joint project is facing up to all these challenges. For example, in a comprehensive, large-scale practical testing of the system integration of renewable energies, it is linking Hamburg’s load centres and those on the Lower Elbe in Schleswig-Holstein with Schleswig-Holstein‘s wind energy generation centres to form one single energy region. The goal of NEW 4.0 is to provide a framework to supply the entire region with 100 percent renewable electricity, safely and reliably, as early as 2035. To this end, generation and consumption will be coordinated through a technology- open shift from a load-driven to a predominantly supply-oriented and flexible energy system with refined market rules.
For the trial phase to be a success, the legal framework must create temporary conditions that permit experiments in ongoing market processes. For this purpose, in May 2017 the Federal Cabinet approved the so-called experimentation clause. The key features of the resulting SINTEG regulation are the exceptional rules to avoid economic disadvantages for project participants as a result of their project activities. Although the regulation is certainly not yet perfect, it allows a gradual implementation of sector coupling.
NEW 4.0 is one of five projects sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy from the end of 2016 to the end of 2020 as part of the “Smart Energy Showcases – Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition (SINTEG)” funding programme. Altogether, in the north German showcase around 60 partners have joined up to form an innovation alliance, in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the energy transition within 100 individual projects, of which 25 are demonstrators. With an investment and funding volume of almost 125 million euros, the aim is to showcase the “energy transition business case” in the region and thus present a “blueprint” for the nationwide energy transition.