The energy transition will not just happen by itself. It is only possible if we actively work towards it. If we maintain a dialogue with all players involved to openly discuss challenges in grid expansion. If we offer a reliable infrastructure that reacts flexibly to fluctuations in supply and demand. And if we consider both customer and stakeholder perspectives in all our decisions. Then we can look forward to a successful energy transition for a sustainable world.
A 65 percent share of renewable energies in gross electricity consumption by 2030 - that is the target value agreed by the German government. What does that mean for 50Hertz? In 2019, we will have already safely integrated 60 percent* of renewable energies into the grid in northern and eastern Germany. We are working on new projects to make innovative technologies efficiently usable for this goal. We're making our grid and systems fit to meet the additional transmission requirements securely and in line with market and consumer requirements.
* Calculated share of renewable energies in electricity consumption in the 50Hertz grid area in 2019
SDG7, GRI 302-2
In the grid area of 50Hertz, electricity consumption is stable over the year at 99 TWh in 2019 (96.8 TWh in 2018 and 96 TWh in 2017 and 2016).
GRI Sector disclosure EU12
50Hertz is a pioneer in the integration of renewable energies and simultaneously offers a high degree of supply security.
GRI Demand-Side-Management, Ensuring the availability and reliability of electricity
As transmission system operators, 50Hertz leads the way in the Energy transition. Our grid have a crucial role to play in the decarbonisation of the energy sector and society in general.
The decarbonisation of the energy sector based on increasing shares of renewables will remain the most important driver of change in Europe. This trend is propelled by the political objective to counter climate change and build a sustainable energy future, but is also supported by the rapid development and declining costs of renewable technologies themselves. We expect this trend to accelerate - with direct effects both on the required grid expansion and on system operation. The availability of different types of renewable energy at different locations contributes to the sustainability, resilience and stability of the European electricity system as a whole, and increasingly requires the transport of electricity flows over long distances and the interconnection of European electricity systems. In other words: We must be ready for the transmission of electricity over long distances and at the same time be able to cope with the sometimes extreme fluctuations, especially in electricity production.
“Prosumer” numbers will rise and they will move to the forefront of the electricity system even more,empowered by technologies that allow them to play a much more active role. New technologies,increasing electrification and sector integration also stimulate the emergence of new players such asservice providers targeting end-consumers. For example, balancing service providers are exploring thepotential of delivering flexibility to different Players along the value chain.
The increasing share of renewables and the trend towards more decentralised generation with amuch larger number of players is making the behaviour of the power system more variable andcomplex. In addition, all over Europe we are seeing grid development lag behind rapidly evolvingrenewable generation. This is causing congestion problems and considerable redispatching costs insome European countries. Given the already high degree of interconnectedness and integration of theEuropean power system and markets, responding to these challenges often requires a supranationalapproach.
The fourth trend, which is being introduced at a rapid pace, will accelerate the speed of the decarbonisation and the decentralisation of production. Elia Group expects to see massive amounts ofrenewables coming online at all levels of the grid, electrification powering activities such as mobilityand heat & cooling, more international cooperation, and millions of people producing and storing theirown electricity. To respond to this, the Group believes that a new way of managing the future powersystem is required in order to maximise the Benefits of the energy transition. This will be possible thanks to the digitalisation of the power system connecting all electrical devices and various players in the system. The emergence of new digital technologies will allow new capabilities for improving the gathering, transfer, processing, and visualisation of data, as well as the automation of decisions and actions in managing the power system. Some of these digital technologies include (but are not limited to) the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain.
INTERVIEW WITH STEFAN KAPFERER, CEO 50HERTZ
— Stefan Kapferer: The strength of Elia Group lies in the variety of different market designs we have to deal with, different perspectives we can share and of course, the different cultures which we can learn from. The mere fact that our headquarters are located in Berlin and Brussels speaks for itself. No other TSO in Europe has this presence in two capitals. As far as 50Hertz operational contribution is concerned: no other TSO has such a large share of fluctuating electricity volumes from wind and solar power in its grid. In 2019, we had around 60% of our electricity consumption coming from renewables, which is one of the world’s highest shares. In our grid area, we expect to achieve the German federal government's 2030 target of 65% renewables within two years.
— Stefan Kapferer: The
German government has now decided on a clear timetable to phase out coal-fired
power generation by 2038 at the latest and then to secure the electricity
supply mainly through renewable energies and flexible gas power plants. This is
an enormous task. So far no one can reliably say where all the electricity
needed for private households, for industry and increasingly also for heating
and transport sectors will come from. For us as a transmission system operator,
this poses several major challenges.
— Stefan Kapferer: The energy transition will only be succesful if we all collaborate and use all the available potential. And we as TSOs and DSOs have a key role to play: it won't work without us. Incidentally, a scientific association recently recorded this with a clarity I wouldn’t have expected. ‘Without the grid expansion, the energy transition will fail,’ says the German scientific elite in a recently published paper. And that's why we deliver. 50Hertz has launched an investment programme of €4.2 billion for the next five years. It includes onshore projects such as the SuedOstLink and the Berlin cable diagonal, as well as the important offshore grid connections Ostwind 2 & 3 and the HansaPower Bridge interconnector to Sweden. Offshore will become increasingly important because wind turbines at sea have higher fullload hours and are perceived by the public as less disruptive. This investment programme naturally also requires an adequate and responsible regulatory Framework.
— Stefan Kapferer: Grid
expansion alone is not enough. We urgently need innovations in hardware - from
cables to substations - and also in software, in other words in the markets.
Before we build a new line, we need to better utilise and optimise the existing
grid. We are doing this using the latest technology, but there is still a lot
of research and field testing to be done. And in times of nuclear and coal phase-out,
we need new equipment such as phase shifters, reactive power compensation
systems and intelligent data management. The topic of ‘energy storage’ will
also gain momentum, both in the smart home context and at the Power-to-X level
- I am convinced of that. Intensive, trusting cooperation between grid
operators at various levels and large industrial electricity consumers is essential.