Sector coupling: Amprion and Open Grid Europe to boost power-to-gas in Germany
Amprion and Open Grid Europe (OGE) are joining forces to press ahead with intelligent sector coupling. The two companies are planning to trial the power-to-gas (PtG) technology on an industrial scale to help accelerate the energy transition. The aim is to build PtG plants in the 50 to 100 MW range. Potential sites in Lower Saxony and northern North Rhine-Westphalia have been identified.
At a joint press conference in Berlin today, the two companies presented their PtG plans and the next joint steps. Dr Klaus Kleinekorte, Technical Director of Amprion, said: "The coalition agreement calls for a renewable energy quota of 65 percent by 2030. This entails enormous challenges for the expansion of the infrastructure."
Renewable energies are very dependent on the weather and the seasons and therefore not constantly and securely available. This is why seasonal storage concepts are needed to achieve the quota set out in the coalition agreement. The most efficient solution from a macro-economic perspective is PtG based on the existing gas infrastructure. "The use of this technology on an industrial scale has not yet been proven in practice. However, this will become all the more necessary in the coming years," Kleinekorte continued.
In order for Germany to achieve its climate protection and energy transition targets, the German government wants to push sector coupling as a key technology. PtG can make a significant contribution here: the technology converts electricity from renewable sources into hydrogen or synthetic methane, which is then available to other sectors.
This basically means that today's gas infrastructure can also be used for transporting and storing renewable energies. The use of PtG plants will also improve the national carbon footprint in the long term.
PtG for the future: Amprion and OGE as partners
"We need a breakthrough in Germany. It’s time to open the doors for sector coupling on an industrial scale. As infrastructure operators, Amprion and OGE have set themselves the goal of testing PtG on an industrial scale and thus making a significant contribution to a successful energy transition," explained Stephan Kamphues, Managing Director of Vier Gas Transport GmbH (OGE’s parent company).
Amprion and OGE are two highly capable project partners: Both companies have a statutory mandate to transport energy safely, reliably and at the lowest possible macro-economic cost. OGE is the operator of the longest gas transmission pipeline system in Germany, while Amprion balances generation and demand in the German power transmission grid. The electricity and gas grids complement each other fairly well if the characteristics of both systems are used for the benefit of an energy infrastructure.
Basically, PtG in the 50 to 100 MW range creates an innovative asset class that also provides free access to market players.
Summarising the motives of the two partners, Dr Hans-Jürgen Brick, Commercial Director of Amprion, said: "Our common goal is to link our two infrastructures in a sensible way. Today's PtG plants in Germany have a maximum output of 6 MW. In order to make a significant contribution to the success of the energy transition, however, we need plants in the GW range. We want to work on this to have the option of large-scale storage from 2030 onwards."