Security of supply in the electricity market can be guaranteed in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2030 even in the event of a complete coal phase-out in Germany – if the political targets for the expansion of generation and network capacities are realized as planned. However, if the expansion targets are missed, there could be bottlenecks both in the electricity market and in the physical transmission of electricity. This could result in regional and national supply gaps.
In the study “Versorgungssicherheit für NRW im Jahr 2030”, the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI) investigates the security of supply in Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia by means of model-based scenario calculations on behalf of the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK NRW). Both the wholesale market perspective, i.e., the energetic coverage of the total German electricity demand, and the grid side security of supply, i.e., a market simulation under consideration of grid restrictions, are examined.
In the study, the ramp-up of renewable energy sources (RES) is simulated in three scenarios of an electricity market model, combined with three scenarios for the ramp-up of hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plants. The electricity market simulation thus analyses a total of nine possible scenarios for supply-critical periods. According to the coalition agreement, the German federal government plans to bring forward the phase-out of coal in Germany “ideally to 2030”. If this were to happen, the 3 GW of new hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plant capacity currently planned in the “Eckpunktevereinbarung für den Kohleausstieg 2030″ would not be sufficient in the scenarios to cover the assumed gross electricity demand of around 720 TWh.
Due to the still limited possibilities for electricity storage in 2030, the calculated supply gaps of up to 16 GW would be almost independent of the ramp-up rate of renewable energies (RE), which are only available to a limited extent during cold dark doldrums. However, if the 25 GW of hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plant capacity already announced by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BWMK) were realized by the end of the decade, the national electricity market could ensure the security of supply even during extended cold dark doldrums. Without significant grid expansion, however, local supply gaps could arise.
For the scenario with an expansion of RE in accordance with the Renewable Energy Sources Act EEG-2023 and an addition of 25 GW of gas-fired power plant capacity, market simulations were also carried out taking grid restrictions into account. These allow a regionalized analysis of supply security. Under the premise of a grid expansion according to the current grid development plan, the gross electricity demand assumed by the EWI could be served at any time at any grid node in 2030. However, if system-relevant line projects, especially the north-south lines, are not completed in time, local supply gaps in the South and West of Germany could be imminent. In addition, the already high adjustment measures to eliminate network bottlenecks could increase further with delayed network expansion.
Philipp Artur Kienscherf, Senior Research Consultant at the EWI, says: ”Due to lengthy planning and approval procedures, some market participants are uncertain about the timely completion of some projects. Prompt investments in the energy system are needed to ensure security of supply in the future.” Against this background, the EWI is developing a monitoring system for the IHK NRW which tracks and continuously updates the development of system-relevant parameters in NRW over time.