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The energy transition in Germany is at a decisive point. The far-reaching processes of change that have taken place over the last few years in the energy industry as a whole address many fundamental challenges that need to be resolved in the next major step. The expansion of renewable energies is increasing year by year and forms an increasingly important pillar of energy supply. The phasing out of nuclear energy and the gradual decline in conventional generation based on fossil fuels are also having an impact on the energy system.
enera demonstrates how the infrastructure of the energy system can be innovated in such a way that, despite the new requirements and the variety of technologies used at the same time, it shows a high degree of resilience. In addition, enera demonstrates how markets and digitization can significantly reduce network expansion costs and create opportunities for innovative business models. This opens up new avenues and opportunities for political control of the progress of the energy transition in Germany. As a result, Germany is becoming the leading international market for energy transformation, and the German economy has a good chance of becoming a technology leader and providing the leading international suppliers.
enera is working on the realization of the next major step in the energy transition in a diverse partner network of new and "classic" players in the energy industry. Through further technological development, networking on the basis of new market mechanisms and complete digitization, we want to create a stable and economically optimised energy system in our model region. Here, new business models and innovations can develop rapidly. The technical and digital interaction of network, market and data creates an incubator for the energy transition.
The project focuses on two aspects: the breaking up of established structures, basic beliefs and approaches on the one hand and the stability and security of energy supply on the other.
1. The change from a static to a dynamic system: markets and business models aim at hitherto unknown developments.
2. The transformation from a central to a decentralized system: both energy supply and system security are increasingly being provided from the distribution network.
3. The economic cost-benefit ratio: System transformation must be optimised by means of market mechanisms and regulation.
The primary aim is to keep global warming below the two-degree Celsius limit and to reduce CO2 emissions sustainably. The further expansion of renewable energies that is necessary for this requires an intelligent interaction of all actors within the energy system. Smart grids and smart markets, i. e. intelligent grids and a coordinated energy market, play a decisive role here.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) has launched a subsidy programme entitled "Smart Energy Showcases - Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition". Within the scope of this funding programme, a multi-year practical test will show how sustainable energy systems can be used on a large scale. It is planned to involve selected market participants from all stages of the value chain in order to show how these sustainable energy systems can be technically implemented and what economic added value they offer.
The BMWi has selected five model regions for this purpose. Smart grids, smart markets and supporting technologies are used in these regions to supply power to the population and industry. This promotes the further development of our energy supply in all areas - from generation, transmission and distribution of energy to marketing to consumers.
The showcase Intelligent Energy as a large practical test is necessary because the complexity of a future intelligent energy system is too great to be described in theory alone. enera has successfully applied for participation in the subsidy programme to help shape the next major step in the transition of energy systems and has been receiving support since the beginning of 2017.
In concrete terms, a share of around 235 percent of renewable energies is already flowing through the electricity grids in the model region. These figures are already more than twice as high as the Federal Government's targets for the year 2050. This makes the Northwest a large renewable power plant!
Every day, the two major challenges of the energy transition have to be mastered here: on the one hand, generation focuses with fluctuating power generation, and on the other hand, regional differences in the focus of consumption. Finding solutions for the requirements of energy transition has been daily practice here for years.
Electricity from renewable energies is already being exported in large quantities from our region. The total consumption of the planned model region is already fully covered in the balance sheet from locally generated renewable energy. The region is therefore ideally suited for the "showcase wind" project.
The entire enera model region is supporting the project. Many local citizens are already actively involved in shaping the energy transition by installing photovoltaic systems and biogas plants as well as by participating in wind farms. Furthermore, the political and economic actors have been partners of enera since the application phase. They support the project both in the region and beyond. The focus is on the idea of using the already existing "large-scale renewable power plant" as a demonstrator for the next major step in the energy turnaround.
In the grid context, it is shown which prerequisites are necessary at the energy system level to ensure that the energy network will continue to operate reliably and efficiently in the future. The flexibility of decentralised generation plants, consumers and storage facilities is just as important as the use of new, intelligent network resources to create further options for grid management. In addition, the intensive use of intelligent measuring systems creates new options for the role concept of a Smart Grid Operator - especially in combination with the core area of data.
The increased transparency and usability of flexibility in the network leads to new market opportunities. The focus is on the expansion of the intraday market with regionalized products. One of the aims of enera is to demonstrate network management using market-contracted flexibility (yellow traffic light phase), in which interventions to maintain the stability of the distribution networks are reduced to a minimum. The market design is thus adapted to decentralised, flexible generation and consumption systems as well as short- and long-term storage facilities.
In order to enable these new data-based options and processes, a reliable and secure standards-based ICT connectivity of all systems is first needed to be integrated into an overall system. The enera Smart Data and Service Platform is being set up to organize data flows and enable the connection of analysis applications and services. This is accompanied by an optimized moderation of the overall system and multiple possibilities for realizing new business models on the basis of digitalization ("energy turnaround AppStore").
In addition to these three core categories, enera also deals with the stability and transferability of results. First of all, citizens in the model region will actively shape the project and incorporate their requirements into it. The experience gained is integrated into target group-specific qualification concepts. Furthermore, the partners work out concepts for information security in order to further develop these as standards. Last but not least, the results of the project will be used for future Germany-wide scenarios to develop proposals for the legal and regulatory framework.