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Press release

„chEErs“ as blueprint for German „Energiewende“

Nr.01/19 20.05.2019

  • Innovative alliance wants to set up a real-world demonstrator for tomorrow’s energy system in Schwarzheide in the East-German Lausitz area
  • Partners present their project at Brandenburger Energietag in Cottbus on 24 May
  • Consortium applies for grants from the Ministry of Economics and Energy in the field „Reallabor der Energiewende“ (real-world laboratory of energy transition)

Valuable, sustainable electricity gets lost when wind and solar power is curtailed. Bottlenecks in the grid and the missing flexibility of conventional power plants are the main reasons why renewable energies are cut. A consortium of players from the chemical industry, technology suppliers, producers of renewable energy, sales and platform providers as well as grid operators started their project „chEErs“ (Chemie und Energie aus Erneuerbaren in Schwarzheide / chemicals and energy from renewables in Schwarzheide) in order to prove the “old” system wrong. BASF Schwarzheide GmbH, Entelios AG, Mitteldeutsche Netzgesellschaft mbH (MITNETZ STROM), NODES AS, Regiogröön GmbH & Co. KG, Stiftung Umweltenergierecht und Sunfire GmbH form the consortium.

“We want to make renewables usable and useful for the chemical industry – on a large scale. The project is meant to prove that this will be possible, despite the high demands the chemical industry has with regard to the security of supply“, says Jürgen Fuchs, Managing Director at BASF Schwarzheide GmbH. The alliance partners developed a concept showing how the regional, fluctuating renewables can be used for both the industry and the grid and how it can become a basis for the production of sustainable and climate-friendly products. They take part in the competition „Reallabore der Energiwende”.

The project shall test how renewable energy sources can become a basis for innovative chemical value chains, both directly and via the integration and coupling of sectors. In cases of surplus supply, renewable power will be used to produce warmth („power-to- heat“) and basic chemicals such as hydrogen, oxygen and carbon monoxide („power-to- gas“) while a local market place functions as link between existing flexibilities and the grid operator. In cases when there are not enough renewables to cover demand, new solutions of automation and storage will help to support the security of supply. On the supply side, regional wind and solar production will be bundled on an innovative trading platform, in a virtual renewables plant, in order to develop custom-fit energy products and new business models.

Today, more than 360 megawatts of renewable energies are installed in Schwarzheide and its surroundings. Thus, the region represents the future energy landscape with a high proportion of renewables. „We want to use green energy right where it is generated. This is how we can reduce bottlenecks in the distribution grid and the need for grid extension, which in turn can be realized on an economic balance“, explains Dr. Adolf Schweer, technical Managing Director of MITNETZ STROM. The project can thus have a positive impact on the costs of the German energy transition.

From start-ups to international corporations – all different types and sizes of companies form the consortium. The partners pin their hopes on the project draft: „In this energy region, which has a long tradition, a real-world demonstrator can be the clue to sustainable energy and industry-political perspectives“, describes Jan Hinrich Glahr, Managing Director of Regiogröön GmbH & Co KG. That is why the commission ‚Wachstum, Strukturwandel und Beschäftigung‘ (‚growth, change and employment‘) suggested real-world demonstrators as an important measure especially for those regions which are hit by structural change.

„Increased sustainability offers us new chances to fulfil our customers‘ demands. This will make the industrial site Schwarzheide more attractive for investments and cooperation, a basic requirement for successful structural change“, explains Fuchs.

The Consortium will inform about the project at the 21. Brandenburger Energietage in Cottbus on 24 May.

About „Reallabore der Energiewende“

The German Federal Government added the format „Reallabore der Energiewende“ (real-world laboratory of energy transition) to their scope of funding within the applied energy research. Being mock-ups for innovation and regulation, projects are supposed to boost technology- and innovation transfers: In real- world demonstrators, project partners test new technologies and business models in a comprehensive way and under authentic conditions and they can test regulatory experiments without necessary amendments of the law. The Ministry of Economics and Energy plans to support real-world demontrators with up to € 100 Mio. per year between 2019 and 2022. A project can be supported for a maximum of 5 years for the planning and setup and 1-3 years for testing and monitoring. The first call for proposals focusses the topics „sector coupling and hydrogen technologies“, „large-scale electricity storage “ and „energy-optimised quarters“. The deadline for proposals ended on 5 April. The first projects will start by the beginning of 2020.

Abut the initiative chEErs

In the framework of the initiative „Chemie und Energie aus Erneuerbaren in Schwarzheide – chEErs“ (chemicals and energy from renewables in Schwarzheide), players such as renewables producers, technology suppliers, electricity and flexibility providers, grid operators, an energy-intensive chemical site and a jurisprudential research institute apply for funding as a real-world demonstrator in order to test the future of energy supply, demand and distribution. Regional, fluctuating renewables shall be integrated into the supply patterns of the chemical site and shall thus form the basis for sustainable and climate-friendly products. Increased sustainability offers new chances to fulfil customer demands and will make the industrial site Schwarzheide more attractive for investments and cooperation. As this will induce industrial growth, the partners also consider the project making a contribution to structural change in the East- German Lausitz area.

Members of the Consortium
BASF Schwarzheide GmbH: www.basf-schwarzheide.de
Entelios AG: https://www.entelios.de/
Mitteldeutsche Netzgesellschaft mbH (MITNETZ STROM): www.mitnetz-strom.de/NODES AS: https://nodesmarket.com/
Regiogröön GmbH & Co. KG: https://www.regiogroon.de/
Stiftung Umweltenergierecht: https://stiftung-umweltenergierecht.de/
Sunfire GmbH: https://www.sunfire.de/

BASF Schwarzheide GmbH