Grids - Now and for the future

Photo: W. Landgraf,

Renewable energies from natural sources such as wind, water, sunlight and biomass are the basis of a future-oriented energy supply. They are particularly suited to generating electricity, a sector in which they are both efficient and effective. Two decades ago producing electricity from renewable sources was a niche technology. Now it is a boom technology. Currently, in 2011, around 20 percent of electricity in Germany is generated from climate friendly sources – wind, sunlight, water, biomass and geothermal heat.

We now need further dynamic expansion of renewable energies to meet our national climate protection targets and fulfill our international climate protection obligations.

Strong winds and bottlenecks in the grid

The existing grid is frequently overloaded. At times when the wind is strong and demand low, it is unable to take up all the electricity generated by wind farms in northern Germany. Wind farms have repeatedly had to be shut down. The electricity that they generate cannot be stored, in just the same way that electricity from conventional sources cannot be stored. Therefore, there is an urgent need for improvements to the grid so that all the available electricity from climate friendly sources such as sunlight and wind can be used to the full.

More wind farms are about to be built in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. These new megawatt installations will have to be connected to the grid. Extra thick transmission cables will be laid under the seabed to transport the electricity onshore. From there it will need to reach industrial areas and densely populated areas further afield.