06 May 2020, 13:29
Sören Amelang

Renewables can contribute more to future German power supply security – study

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's electricity supply can remain secure until 2050 as renewable energy installations and decentralised units such as storages will be able to contribute much more to a stable power system than they do today, according to the German Energy Agency (dena). But the system will need a number of technical and process-related adaptations, the agency says in a comprehensive study on system security. "Security of supply is a key energy policy objective. However, the discussion about a secure and reliable energy supply focuses too much on how to provide the required quantities of energy. This does not go far enough. The operation of the system must also function smoothly despite its increasing complexity," said agency head Andreas Kuhlmann. He added that regulatory changes and new technical guidelines are necessary to ensure that renewable installations and other decentralised units such as storages commissioned over the coming years are capable of contributing to future system security.

Today, it's mainly large thermal power plants that provide so-called ancillary services to secure power supply by regulating frequency, voltage and power load in the grid, the dena said. "Decentralised generation facilities, consumers and storage facilities would also be technically capable of performing many tasks to ensure system security," the agency says. "In order to be able to use the potential of renewable energies and of other grid users to guarantee system security, the optimisation of coordination processes between grid operators, as well as between grid and facility operators, is particularly important."

Germany still has one of the most reliable electricity grids in the world. According to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), actual power blackouts are increasingly caused by extreme weather events rather than by the transition to renewable energies.

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