Thematic Fields

Smart Grids and Smart Markets

Due to the politically supported change of the electricity generation system, the expansion of decentralized power generation units based on renewable energies is progressing steadily. Hence, the technical limits in some electricity networks are already exceeded nowadays. Therefore actions to restructure the networks are required. The market-based provision of local network services, the use of network operation measures as well as the development of alternative grid technologies such as direct current technologies represent possible solutions for a successful transition of the energy system. In close cooperation with network operators and users as well as regulators, authorities and component manufacturers computational models and optimization methods are developed to take the best possible advantage of operational and planning degrees of freedom and to develop new network operating and expansion strategies as well as network concepts under consideration of increasing uncertainties in the development of the supply task.

European Energy Supply in the Future

Due to the increasing amount of distributed and supply-dependent generation of renewable energy sources, new requirements for energy transmission and trading arise. In this respect, practice shows diverse developments as the identification of grid expansion measures or the determination of the restrictions for imports and exports of electrical energy in Europe. At the same time, it can been observed that the coupling between sectors increases, individual behavior of players in distribution grids arises and the utilization of thermal power plants shrinks. In order to evaluate these changes, the IAEW develops methods and provides qualitative and quantitative contributions for questions from a macroeconomic and microeconomic perspective. Therefore, the aim is the integration of renewables under consideration of growing uncertainties and the utilization of synergy effects in Europe.

System security in the German energy transition

The security of electricity supply is on a high level and an important location-specific advantage of Germany. Due to the rising number of facilities based on renewable energy sources, keeping up the high security level in the medium- and long-term becomes a challenge. The rising share of volatile, not definitely predictable feed-in and the anticipated decommissioning of thermal power plants lead to a reduction in reliable generation capacities. In this context and considering the widespread use of innovative equipment and concepts – such as flexible high-voltage direct current transmission systems, variable distribution transformers, reserve supply by plenty of small power plants and various smart grid technologies – system security is to be assessed continuously using adapted methods taking into account new circumstances. Methods and procedures developed by IAEW help detecting interdependencies at an early stage and thus ensure future system security.

Sector Coupling

To achieve the climate policy goals, it is nescessary that, besides the electricity sector, heat and mobility get covered by renewable energy sources. Sector coupling will become more important in the future, because most of the renewable energy sources are connected to the grid as photovoltaic and wind turbines. Different concepts are  pursued, like total electrification of the heat and mobility demand by heat pumps or electric vehicles or integrated systems coupled with Power-to-X technologies. Another concept is the coupling of the power and gas grid with Power-to-Gas and existing gas plants. The IAEW develops models to evaluate the effects of sector coupling to the grid to make scientific contributions about the decarbonisation of the entire energy system.