Since 2016, more than 60 partners have been working towards the goal of enabling 100% renewable electricity supply for Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein by 2035, as part of the ‘Northern German Energy Transition (NEW) 4.0’ initiative. This required solutions that were researched, tested and applied in and by NEW 4.0.
Comprising more than 60 partners, the innovation alliance was intended to consider industry, science and policy interdependently, and think about digitalisation and the energy transition in combination. The measures for achieving the energy transition would have to be correspondingly beneficial both operationally and macroeconomically, and also guarantee grid and system stability. Research into acceptance, and the need for qualified staff, also formed points of departure for the project. Six topic areas were derived from these basic requirements, which NEW 4.0 has addressed in over 100 sub-projects over the last four years. &60;
The pilot region, consisting of the City of Hamburg and the Federal Region of Schleswig-Holstein, was particularly suitable on account of its complementary infrastructure: whereas Schleswig-Holstein already obtained more electricity from renewable energy sources than it could use, Hamburg’s industry represented as a candidate for the surplus.
Ultimately, NEW 4.0 showed that the integrated energy transition is feasible. In future, electricity from renewable sources will play an important role in this. Through load-end flexibility, even fluctuating wind and solar electricity can be increasingly fed into the electricity system, progressively replacing conventional electricity generation. This results in multiple benefits to the climate, while both supply and grid stability are guaranteed.
Furthermore, the industrial demand for electricity in Germany offers important potential for flexibility here, in the area of sector coupling. The interaction between large industrial loads, storage systems, hydrogen and heat generators and thousands of small electricity producers is coordinated by means of ICT (information and communications technology). This interplay was put to the test using the ENKO platform and the ‘smart balancing’ concept. These market-based tools were able to flexibly configure coordination and create a link between private consumption and fluctuating electricity generation.
A wide range of ICT applications was also used, in order to handle the conversion from load-controlled electricity systems to generation-controlled ones. In future, this will require qualified staff: the foundation of the NEW 4.0 Academy established a comprehensive programme of education and training that was fully booked within a very short time, and which will continue to exist as well.
Social acceptance was also placed under the microscope, revealing that the prevalence of constructive attitudes among the general public in the pilot region was remarkably high. In this regard, the NEW Roadshow has also scored its own success.
NEW 4.0 analysed the various facets and challenges of the energy transition and brought together the interdependent factors of ICT, sector coupling, flexibility and the various stakeholders involved. The findings of NEW 4.0 now afford the possibility of nationwide integration across Germany. All the findings are summarised and presented in a synthesis which you will find here.
For now, we take our leave of you and thank all the interested parties, collaborators and project partners for the success of this milestone in the energy transition – and look forward to more energy transition projects together!