50Hertz and TenneT awarded for PtG projects

26.07.2019

Last week, Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, announced the winners of the ideas competition “Reallabore der Energiewende” (“Real Laboratories of the Energy Transition), which aims to promote promising energy technologies of the future, especially in the field of hydrogen technology. The winners include the two TSCNET shareholders 50Hertz, the transmission system operator (TSO) from north-east Germany, and Tennet, the Dutch-German TSO, as they are both involved in award winning projects.

Tennet is cooperating with Gasunie and Thyssengas for ELEMENT ONE, a power-to-gas (PtG) plant to be built in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, which will be capable of converting up to 100MW of electrical power into gas. ELEMENT ONE is in the planning phase, but the project partners are confident that the results of the project will provide crucial information on electricity and gas grid integration, the development of operator models and the regulatory environment. With their approach, they aim to accelerate the urgently needed transfer of technology and innovation from research to practice in the field of sector coupling and hydrogen technology.

Key technologies of energy supply
50Hertz is involved as associated partner in two winning PtG projects: “GreenHydroChem Mitteldeutsches Chemiedreieck“ in Saxony-Anhalt, and “Reflau – Referenzkraftwerk Lausitz“ in Brandenburg. These two projects also focus on sector coupling and hydrogen technology. The partners for GreenHydroChem are Siemens, Linde, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS). With a 50MW electrolyser, regeneratively generated electricity is first to be converted into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then converted in refineries into base chemicals and methanol, which can be blended with conventional fuels for the use in the transport sector. With Reflau, the partners want to combine and test in practice key technologies of energy supply with renewable energies and hydrogen as a chemical storage.

Dr. Dirk Biermann, Chief Markets & System Operations Officer at 50Hertz, welcomes the support for innovative technologies: “With our involvement in the laboratories, we are specifically promoting the development of Power-to-X technologies for the energy market. Because if things get serious in a few years’ time, we will need proven and grid-compatible experience with this new technology.”

50Hertz and TenneT are among the winners of the German “Reallabore der Energiewende” competition for the promotion of innovative energy technologies (picture: Fraunhofer IMWS / Sven Döring)

Linkup
> See 50Hertz press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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Map of German PtG plants

25.04.2019

With Power-to-Gas (PtG) technologies, sustainable electricity can be converted into gas and then stored in the existing gas infrastructure, transported and provided as needed – independent of the natural volatility of wind and solar energy. Forecasts up to 2050 indicate that comprehensive and effective climate protection is not possible without PtG. The “Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches” (German Association of the Gas and Water Sector – DVGW), an independent technical-scientific network for all questions related to gas and water supply, has published an updated map giving an overview of all PtG projects in Germany, including both completed and planned facilities.

The DGWV map shows that the number of PtG plants in Germany as well as their installed capacity is constantly increasing compared to previous statistics. 35 PtG plants are currently in operation with a total capacity of around 30MW. However, most of them are pilot or demonstration projects on a small scale and serve research purposes. Industrial-scale plants are still the exception, also for the 16 projects in planning.

Nevertheless, total PtG capacity will increase significantly in the future (estimated at 273MW), mainly due to two 100MW projects being implemented by two TSCNET shareholders: Amprion, one the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and the Dutch-German TSO TenneT are pursuing the two most powerful sector coupling projects currently underway in Germany: “hybridge” and “ELEMENT ONE” which are planned at two different sites in the German federal state of Lower Saxony. According to current planning, “ELEMENT ONE” will be gradually operational by 2022 and “hybridge” will be fully operational by 2023.

The German gas and water sector association DVGW has published an upgraded map of PtG facilities in Germany (picture: edited screenshot of video “Power to Gas” by Thyssengas)

Linkup
> See DVGW press release, in German (html)
> Open PtG Plant Map, in German (pdf, 752kb)
> Visit hybridge website, in German (html)
> Visit ELEMENT ONE website, in German (html)

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PtG pilot plants on an industrial scale

29.03.2019

Power-to-Gas (PtG) technologies have the potential to compensate for the weather-related volatility of renewable energies. More specifically, PtG can be used to convert sustainable electricity into gas (green hydrogen or methane), so that the gas infrastructure is additionally available for the transport and storage of electricity from renewable sources. The TSCNET shareholder Amprion, one the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), and TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO, are taking the next important step towards implementing the two most powerful sector coupling projects currently underway in Germany: “hybridge” and “ELEMENT ONE”.

The respective gas transmission partners of Amprion and TenneT are Open Grid Europe for the “hybridge” project and Gasunie and Thyssengas for ELEMENT ONE. Both PTG plants are to convert up to 100MW of electrical power into gas. Their construction is planned at two different sites in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, each close to wind power generation centres and well-developed gas infrastructure.

The grid operators have submitted the necessary investment applications for both projects on 29 March to the Bundesnetzagentur (German Federal Network Agency). If the Agency gives the green light, ELEMENT ONE will be gradually operational by 2022 and hybridge will be fully functional by 2023. Dr. Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion, comments on the application, that major PtG projects must now be pushed forward, “if we want to use PtG technology on a large scale in Germany in the 2030s”.

Amprion and TenneT have submitted investment applications for their respective PtG pilot plants hybridge and ELEMENT ONE (picture: Open Grid Europe GmbH)

Linkup
> See Amprion press release, in German (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Visit hybridge website, in German (html)
> Visit ELEMENT ONE website, in German (html)

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TenneT and Gasunie present “Infrastructure Outlook 2050”

15.02.2019

Electricity grids in Europe are increasingly confronted with the fluctuating feed-in of renewable energies. Consequently, they need more flexibility, which can be provided by the comprehensive coupling of sectors such as energy, transport, industry and heat. Many European transmission system operators (TSOs) have identified the integration of electricity and gas transmission infrastructures as a promising approach to fulfilling the requirements of the coming sustainable energy system. Electricity and gases must complement each other, since interlinking both grid types creates new storage possibilities and also provides additional transport options for renewables. Both factors will help to keep energy supplies reliable and affordable also in the low carbon energy future.

TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO for electricity, and Gasunie, the Dutch TSO for gas, each operate grids in the Netherlands as well as in Germany. Last year they entered into a sector coupling partnership with plans for the Power-to-Gas (PtG) pilot plant “ELEMENT ONE”. Now the TSOs have presented their joint “Infrastructure Outlook 2050”. It clearly illustrates that the existing electricity and gas infrastructures in the Netherlands and Germany continue to play a decisive role in coping with the increase in renewable energies and achieving the Paris climate targets. The main conclusion of the joint TSO study is that electricity and gas networks must be more closely interconnected by 2050 in order to meet the objectives. The Outlook is also the first document of its kind to consider various scenarios for the future development of energy supply.

The importance of hydrogen from PtG technologies for energy storage and transport is also highlighted. But even despite the potential of sector integration, further expansion of the electricity grid remains essential, as all scenarios envisage a significant increase in the necessity of electricity transport. In addition, however, there must also be backing from political decision-makers and the creation of a clear, supportive regulatory framework. Manon van Beek, CEO at TenneT, argues that “energy systems are not converted overnight but require sustained, joint efforts”. She therefore sees the need for close cooperation between all those involved in the energy market. In this respect, the “Infrastructure Outlook 2050” represents a “solid, joint start with fresh insights”.

TenneT and Gasunie present the “Infrastructure Outlook 2050” on developing and coupling of transmission infrastructures (picture: Gasunie)

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> See TenneT press release (html)
> See TenneT press release, in German (html)
> Open “Infrastructure Outlook 2050” (pdf, 45.28Mb)

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Coupling of renewables and PtG for climate targets

11.12.2018

In order to achieve ambitious climate targets, a rapid expansion of renewable energy generation is essential. The German market still has great offshore potential in this respect. However, regenerative expansion makes no sense if the corresponding transport or storage capacities are lacking. TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), is already known for its sustained efforts to significantly expand the transmission infrastructure in its control area as environmentally friendly as possible. But the TSO is also very active in the development of storage concepts, just consider, for example, the storage potential of the North Sea Wind Power Hub project or the “ELEMENT ONE” power-to-gas (PtG) pilot plant.

Together with Siemens and Shell, both global players in their respective fields, Tennet is now making additional efforts to promote the renewables as well as PtG. The three companies are convinced that green hydrogen will play a decisive role in the future energy mix as the basis for many power-to-X applications, which are technologies for storage and other uses of surplus electricity. TenneT, Siemens and Shell have thus commissioned a study on a new type of tender model for offshore wind capacity. This model intends to link the awarding of contracts for the operation of offshore plants to the production of hydrogen: The additional wind power from such facilities should not put too much strain on the onshore grid, but rather be used to generate hydrogen and even stablise the electricity grid. The green hydrogen can be transported via the gas grid and then be used in other sectors, such as industry or mobility.

Lex Hartman, Managing Director of TenneT, is determined to not squander any potential for renewable energies and convinced that PtG technologies provide flexibility, reduce the strain on the grid and make power supply more secure. “In the long term,” Mr Hartman continues, “the combination with hydrogen production can also be applied throughout Germany to other renewable energies. This advances the energy transition and helps to achieve our climate targets.”

TenneT, in cooperation with Siemens and Shell, proposes to couple offshore wind capacity tenders with PtG storage technologies (copyright photo composition by Stadtwerke Mainz)

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> See TenneT press release, in German (html)

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“ELEMENT ONE” couples green energy sectors

17.10.2018

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”.

In cooperation with Gasunie and Thyssengas, TenneT presents the ELEMENT ONE project for green sector coupling using PtG technology

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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