Energy Transition in our Networks
A platform for the energy transition
The energy world is transforming, it’s getting more decentralized with network connection points multiplying and energy feed-in further fragmenting. In this context the energy networks infrastructure become the platform where the energy transition actually happens, and it is required to take a more active role. Thus, E.ON is committed to this transition to a low-carbon energy system that takes maximum advantage of renewable sources. Our platform connects consumers with a steadily growing number of distributed renewable energy producers and provides the backbone for sustainable, low-carbon e-mobility.
To manage these complex energy flows while ensuring a reliable electricity supply, we’re making our networks smarter. Connecting customers and renewable energy sources in an affordable way requires the use of innovations and intelligent technologies. For example, smart grid elements help us increase the capacity of our existing grid in order to integrate renewables, at the fraction of the cost of new lines and bigger transformers. Smart Grid investments will ensure that our grid is flexible enough to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
We want to help make the energy transition a reality so that sustainable energy is available to everyone.
Our networks help achieve SDGs 7, 9, and 11.
The backbone of the new energy world
Our networks facilitate the integration of low-carbon renewable energy while ranking among the most efficient and reliable in each country where we operate. Our networks in Germany integrate more renewable power than we supply to end-customers. We invest wisely by balancing our deployment of conventional and advanced network technology. This enables us to minimize network expansion, which reduces our costs as well as our impact on the environment and communities.
Power-to-gas (P2G) is a technology that uses e.g. surplus wind or solar power to run equipment that transforms water into hydrogen or, after additional processing, into synthetic methane. Both can be injected into the gas pipeline system. P2G has a lot of potential: on particularly sunny, windy days, many wind and solar farms in Germany have to reduce and sometimes even suspend production so that the network doesn’t become overloaded. P2G would make it possible for these facilities to keep running and for their green power to be transformed into green gas that could be used for space heating, transport, and industrial processes. This would enable Germany – and Europe – to harness more of its renewable resource and also to reduce its dependence on imported natural gas.
Examples of our network projects
A grid of their own
About one week a month, the roughly 200 residents of Simris, a village near Sweden’s southeast coast, disconnect themselves from the main grid and rely solely on locally produced renewable energy. The brain of the microgrid is our smart energy control system, which ensures that production and consumption are always in balance. The project is part of InterFlex, an EU programme to explore smart-grid technologies that resolve grid constraints and facilitate the growth of renewables.
Smart Grid Hub
Avacon, one of our network operators in Germany, has developed a Smart Grid Hub to control grid-connected systems such as PV installations or battery storage remotely. In this way, the Smart Grid Hub ensures that the grid remains stable even if far too much or too little energy is generated locally. This project is also part of InterFlex.
Two countries, one grid
The goal of ACON (Again COnnected Networks) is to foster the integration of the Czech and the Slovak electricity markets. It intends to explore opportunities to deploy smart-grid technologies and to expand interconnection with grids of neighbouring countries, which will improve reliability in border areas. ACON is a fundable prioritised project of common interest under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme.
Making local renewables output transparent
Bayernwerk, our distribution system operator in south Germany, launched the Energy Monitor in 2018. This online dashboard displays a community’s renewables output and energy consumption in real time. The transparency provided by Energy Monitor enables community decision-makers to take targeted action to promote the energy transition and to monitor their progress.
Underground energy transition
The energy transition will require a significant expansion of distribution networks. This process is under way in all our network territories. Under way and sometimes underground, like at E.DIS Netz: roughly halfway between Berlin and Leipzig, our subsidiary is laying 27 kilometres of underground cable that can connect about 400 MW of renewables capacity.
Transporting surplus renewable energy
In many of our network territories in Germany, more green energy is produced than the homes and businesses in the area can consume. Our networks therefore deliver surplus renewable energy onto the transmission system so that it can be used in other parts of the country. Avacon Netz, our network subsidiary in northwest Germany, is helping propel the energy transition in the Bremen region by installing a new transformer station. From 2021 onward, the new station will enable Avacon Netz to connect about 100 MW of additional renewables capacity.
Setting new standards
Tomorrow’s energy system will need an infrastructure that we can closely monitor and control. Smart transformer stations will be a key component of this infrastructure. They send a constant flow of data to our network control centres and can be controlled remotely in real time. This technology will be the new standard in all our networks in Germany. For example, we intend to install 1,000 smart transformer stations per year in the service territory of Bayernwerk, our network operator in southeast Germany.
Green gas from green power
To protect the earth’s climate, we need to make gas as well as power climate-neutral. That’s why we’ve launched an initiative to explore ways to reduce carbon emissions from space heating, transport, and industry. Our network operators in Germany are conducting a variety of projects to test and develop technologies that make, transform, store, and distribute renewable energy. One example is power-to-gas (P2G). Our first P2G unit is in Brunsbüttel, located about 80 kilometres northwest of Hamburg. We’re connecting it to the gas network of our subsidiary Schleswig-Holstein-Netz in 2019.
One of the keys to reliable and flexible grids is well-coordinated cooperation between transmission and distribution system operators. This is where the CoordiNet project comes in: Three large-scale demonstrations will be run in Sweden, Spain and Greece between 2019 and 2022. Various measures are to be tested in order to improve the interaction between the network operators. They involve many different actors as small and large energy generators and consumers as well as storage providers.