Power-to-gas (PtG) technologies can make a significant contribution to solving the problem of the weather-dependent and thus volatile availability of renewable energies. The PtG offer for a low carbon energy future is to convert sustainable electricity into gas (green hydrogen or methane), so that the gas infrastructure can be used additionally for the transport and storage of renewable energies. A future milestone in the PtG area is now emerging, as TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) for electricity, and the two TSOs for gas, Gasunie and Thyssengas, have embarked on concrete planning for green sector coupling using PtG technologies.
Without ambitious and courageous lighthouse projects, the energy transition cannot be successfully promoted, and the three TSOs have just presented precisely this kind of project with “ELEMENT ONE”. In the German federal state of Lower Saxony, the three operators are planning to build a PtG pilot plant, which will be the largest of its kind in Germany with a capacity of 100MW. From 2022, the plant will gradually be connected to the grid and offer new storage capacities for renewable energies. The ultimate long-term goal to be achieved by the partners is a comprehensive coupling of the energy, transport and industry sectors.
TenneT sees great potential in PtG technologies because they can provide the power grid with a much needed degree of flexibility. And this creates many advantages for grid operation as Lex Hartman, Managing Director of TenneT, emphasises: “The ability to store large volumes of renewable electricity will reduce the load on the power grid. That, in turn, helps us limit the expensive curtailment of wind turbines and make the power supply more reliable.” And what may be perhaps the most significant aspect for the public ‒ considering the ongoing discussions about grid extension in Germany ‒ is the prediction that “storing more green energy also entails a reduced need for further grid expansion after 2030”.