On November 10, 2020, the third cross-border workshop in the framework of the RES-TMO project was held online. This event was organized by the coordination office of the University of Freiburg. 26 regional energy stakeholders from France, Germany, and Switzerland exchanged their perspectives and knowledge on the topic of regional energy resilience and decarbonization through decentralized renewable energy (RE).
Four experts gave presentations on key transformation pathways towards a carbon-neutral energy sector that meets the consumption needs of electricity, heating, industry and mobility, as well as the related challenges and opportunities. Prof. Bruno Burger and Dr. Christoph Kost from the Fraunhofer ISE, Peter Majer from Badenova and Etienne Sorin from EDF addressed possible transformations of national energy systems for an increasing integration of renewables. They presented different mechanisms for increasing energy system flexibility and their functionalities, including energy storage technologies. They also discussed with the participants the issue of the viability and profitability of those technologies, their benefits, their footprint in terms of energy and raw material use as well as their recyclability.
With all these elements in mind, the ensuing discussions focused on the issues addressed in each presentation. The two working groups discussed storage needs, the management of energy surpluses at both local and regional levels, the challenge of matching supply and demand and maintaining power grid balance at all times, as well as different forms of storage technologies using hydrogen in particular. Significant capital investments are required to reach market maturity. Policy instruments, such as carbon taxes, could be part of the solution. It was concluded that:
1) an energy system relying to a large extent on renewable energy and exploiting local/regional potentials requires a multi-service and multi-technology approach with interventions at multiple levels;
2) economic and technical efficiency play an essential role;
3) raw material requirements and the recyclability of certain technologies are currently major limitations.