This project for the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology looks at how the energy infrastructures including the planning and funding structures need to be further developed for various energy transition scenarios. The IEG coordinates a consortium of Consentec GmbH, Fraunhofer ISI, IREES GmbH, IFEU, TU Berlin, DVGW-EBI, KIT, Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM) and SUER. The project started in 2018 and will be completed in 2020.
The focus of energy system studies on decarbonisation in Germany is primarily on energy provision and, albeit to a lesser extent, the transformation of the demand for energy. The infrastructures between energy demand and energy supply are either not taken into account and discussed at all in the studies or only taken into account and discussed in a very abstract or only partial manner. This is problematic for a number of reasons when developing a decarbonisation strategy. On the one hand, depending on the scenarios there are very different requirements on the individual infrastructures of the energy system. On the other hand, many of the infrastructures are characterised by long planning and implementation periods.
These observations make clear that a consideration of the link between the supply-side and the demand-side decarbonisation strategies and the infrastructures is on the one hand needed and on the other hand has not been carried out to a sufficiently systematic extent to date. The AIRE project attempts to close this gap.
Infrastructure requirements in various scenarios
The requirements of the infrastructures in various scenarios are first investigated in AP 1 to 4 in highly technical and system-focused analyses. The results of these analyses will, among other things, provide information about how the various infrastructures can be further developed in the event of a transformation of the energy system according to a certain scenario and what time-related aspects need to be taken into account here. In connection with this, we can also see the extent to which fundamental decisions need to be made in terms of infrastructure development at certain times (at the latest) with particularly long lead times needing to be taken into account. These decisions need to be made so it is possible to focus on a specific scenario in the transformation of the energy system, thereby ensuring the path that is taken is cost-effective and does not put the reliability of the supply at risk.
Development of institutional processes and mechanisms for capacity decisions in the infrastructure sector
Taking into account the understanding of future tasks and challenges in the infrastructure sector during the energy transition obtained through the technical and systemic analyses, a second task is to develop institution processes and mechanisms (“planning regime”) with which sensible capacity decisions in the infrastructure sector can be made in the future - where applicable taking into account fundamental decisions made upstream about strategic alignment and the transformation of the energy system based on a specific scenario. What is sensible depends on the objectives which have been set, with cost minimisation, reliability of supply (or minimising any risks to this) and acceptance being standard objectives. The technical and systemic analyses discussed above in the study to be carried out will form a basis for future specific infrastructure requirement planning, but they cannot replace this.
Need for action and reform options for the funding of the infrastructures
The results of the technical and systemic analysis enable current financial challenges and problems with the planning, implementation and adjustment of the infrastructures to be identified, taking into account the current funding regime. This can be used to derive needs for action and reform options for the funding of the infrastructures within the scope of the energy transition.