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The University of Duisburg-Essen is conducting research on the topic "market"

Anastasia Garies
Content Managerin
Anastasia Garies
Content Managerin

The University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) is also an enera consortium partner. It supports the project and the project partners with its expertise in energy industry topics and is primarily active in the "market" priority category.

The market experts Philip Goldkamp and Jan Schallenberg have already explained how electricity trading works and why a so-called flexibility market can represent the future of energy trading in their contribution to the enera flexibility market.

In addition to this, the UDE team around Prof. Dr. Christoph Weber has also written an article on the flexibility market / smart market. 

The Time Before the Energy Transition

From the western towers of the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) you have an excellent view over the Ruhr area. In addition to Essen's cityscape and the VELTINS Arena, the landscape is marked by the Zollverein colliery, a world cultural heritage site, and the Scholven coal-fired power plant, the remains of the energy industry of bygone days. But the Ruhr area is also working on the energy world of the future. As part of the enera project, the University of Duisburg-Essen is researching a solution for better integration of renewable energies into the German electricity grid and would like to make a contribution to the successful implementation of the energy transition. In order to understand the challenges of the energy transition that the UDE is working on together with many project partners in the project, it is initially worth taking a look at the past.

In the period before the energy transition, electricity generation was characterised by large power plant units with an output of several hundred to a thousand megawatts, which were planned and built at strategically favourable locations. Power plant sites such as Scholven produced almost as much electricity as three nuclear power plants combined with an installed capacity of around 3,400 megawatts a few decades ago and were thus responsible for the safe generation of electricity. The transmission grid transported the electricity from the power plant units to the conurbations and supplied large industrial consumers. The distribution grid also supplied households and commercial enterprises with electricity at lower voltage levels. The grid expansion was coordinated and implemented with existing and newly planned power plants.

The Energy Transition as a Major Challenge for the Electricity Grid

Today, the energy transition poses major challenges for the electricity grid. The strong expansion of wind turbines in northern Germany, far away from the large consumer centres, requires a strong expansion of the capacities of the transmission grid. In addition, many renewable energy systems are connected to the distribution grid (e.g. wind energy systems or PV systems on the roof of a detached house), so that the electricity from the distribution grid must first be "fed back" into the transmission grid before it can be transported to the load centres. This inverse use of the networks brings new challenges.

More and more often there are grid bottlenecks in the transmission and distribution grid. For this reason, grid operators must increasingly shut down wind turbines (so-called feed-in management) in order to guarantee grid stability. Although more renewable electricity could be produced as a result, the electricity is not fed into the grid due to the lack of grid capacity. Since the operators of the wind turbines are nevertheless compensated under the EEG for the amount of electricity not fed into the grid, the costs for this unproduced electricity have risen sharply in recent years and amounted to over 1 billion euros in 2017. 

The Smart Market as an Alternative to Managing Network Bottlenecks

In the SINTEG showcase project enera, Prof. Christoph Weber and his team at the University of Duisburg-Essen contribute with their many years of experience to the conception and implementation of a Smart Market. The Smart Market is intended to be a market-based alternative to managing network bottlenecks. For example, instead of shutting down wind turbines and compensating for unproduced electricity, local industrial companies or storage facilities should be able to purchase electricity on better terms via the market. Local consumption means that electricity no longer has to be transported to consumers via the transmission and distribution network. Companies in bottleneck regions benefit from cheaper electricity purchases, as their consumption supports the grid and prevents costs through feed-in management. The overall goal of improving the integration of renewable energies into the German energy system is thus to be achieved.

The University of Duisburg-Essen researches the potential of flexibility markets for achieving the energy transition

The key work packages of the University of Duisburg-Essen include the design, testing and evaluation of the Smart Market as well as the definition of regional products that are traded on the market platform - in cooperation with many other project partners. The aim of the work packages is to develop a cost-efficient solution that provides all market participants with the right incentives to manage network bottlenecks in the distribution and transmission network.

At the same time, the economic and regulatory framework of a smart market is examined. Suitable framework conditions for an efficient design and incentive are identified, which enable a successful implementation of the Smart Market beyond the shop window project. From the findings of the project, recommendations on policy and regulation for future legislation with regard to the introduction of a smart market are to be derived.   

In addition, the team is expanding its popular Joint Market Model (JMM) electricity market model to include the Smart Markets developed in enera. With the help of simulations it is investigated how the introduction of smart markets, as developed in enera, can contribute to the integration of renewable energies and to the success of the energy transition throughout Germany.

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