Energiewende | Tuesday, 2021-03-30

Security of supply in the face of the energy transition

While the primary supply of fuels in Germany is becoming more secure as a result of the energy transition since import dependence is declining, new challenges are emerging in the electricity supply. The expansion of grids and the flexibilisation of the electricity system are measures that make these changes towards an electricity system without fossil fuels manageable. Jens Hobohm comes to this conclusion in his article "Thesen zur Versorgungssicherheit angesichts der Energiewende" (Theses on security of supply in the face of the energy transition), which appeared in the Friedrich Ebert Foundation publication "Kohleausstieg und Strukturwandel in Sachsen-Anhalt" (Coal phase-out and structural change in Saxony-Anhalt).

Greater security of supply for primary energy

The energy transition reduces dependencies in primary energy supply and thus increases security of supply. This is because once the energy transition is complete, fossil fuels no longer have to be imported. "One possible risk compared to today's situation could be that the diversity of supply options decreases," explains Jens Hobohm, Head of Energy Economics at Prognos AG. After all, with oil, gas, coal and uranium, four different energy sources are imported from many different countries today. "In the future, the spectrum of energy sources to be imported could be reduced to hydrogen and synthetic energy sources in addition to electricity," says Hobohm. "On the other hand, this is precisely where an opportunity for supply security lies."

Hydrogen - energy carrier of the future

Hydrogen offers a wide range of possibilities as an energy carrier. Moreover, as a product it should be almost as homogeneous as electricity, unlike gas and oil, which differ significantly in chemical composition depending on their origin. Moreover, there are many countries that are suitable for its production. In the long run, this could create a market with high liquidity and thus security of supply.
Electricity system without fossil fuels

Security of supply in the electricity system means that the demand for electricity can be met by the supply of electricity at any time and in any place. Therefore, serious challenges arise in the electricity system on both the generation and the load side on the way to a system dominated by renewable energies. These are already noticeable today. This is because the feed-in of renewable energies is volatile (fluctuating) and has led, for example, to a significantly increased need for feed-in management in recent years. In order for the security of supply to remain as high as it is, the generation system and demand must become more flexible. The expansion of the grids must also be pushed forward. Only then can a temporal and regional balance between consumption and feed-in focal points be ensured at all times according to the situation.


To the publication "Coal phase-out and structural change in Saxony-Anhalt" of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (PDF, german) (Website of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung)

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