BMVI study presented: Climate targets call for an integrated energy concept

Renewable energy must be used in all sectors. Only in this way can the targets for reducing greenhouse gases be achieved. This is the conclusion of a study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI – Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur) and coordinated by NOW GmbH.

Berlin, 24.06.2019 – Within the scope of the study, a research consortium led by the law firm Becker Büttner Held (BBH) developed guidelines for the design of such an integrated future energy system. Further members were the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE), Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH (LBST) and the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM – Institut für Klimaschutz, Energie und Mobilität).

To begin, scenarios for possible paths of transformation of the German energy system were developed and the associated total cost analyses for transport operators were carried out. Based on this input, proposals for political, legal and regulatory measures were developed. The main focus was on the transport sector.

The analysis was based on scenarios that were calculated with the REMod energy system model developed at Fraunhofer ISE and represent possible transformation paths of the German energy system up to 2050. In the project, the effect of the defined CO2 reduction target, the timing of the exit from coal, the proportion of battery-powered vehicles and other influencing factors were examined in a total of 14 scenarios. In these scenarios it becomes apparent that the demand for electricity will continue to rise until 2050 despite considerable efficiency efforts.

Besides the expansion of the electricity grids, instruments for greater flexibility such as electricity storage and heat pumps are therefore becoming increasingly important in order to guarantee a secure and reliable supply of power. However, the analyses revealed that a direct supply of the transport, heat and industrial sectors with electricity alone would not prove feasible from a cost-optimal perspective. The system cannot cope with electricity peaks indefinitely, which can arise at times of low feed-in from renewable energy sources and simultaneously high demand for power-based heat and mobility. Imported hydrogen or methane produced from green surplus electricity can and must therefore help to decouple production from demand. For the transport sector, the model was supplemented by a total cost of ownership analysis for passenger cars and trucks as well as for other modes of transport (rail, shipping, aviation).

The regulatory analysis first examined the current legal framework for sector coupling. From the scenarios devised, developments were also derived that were consistently visible there (“robust” developments). To this end, concrete regulatory measures were proposed: How can the technological and economic developments that were identified as part of a cost-effective transformation actually be achieved and controlled? In this context, a number of regulations were proposed, including a bonus-malus system for electric and fuel cell vehicles in addition to CO2 pricing. Moreover, a Renewable Energy Fuel Act could ensure that sufficient renewable fuels are available in the course of the transformation if they are required by the energy system.

A summary of the study has now been published and can be downloaded from the BMVI website (in German).