A resilient energy system is one that can maintain its function under stress. In Germany, this is currently achieved by storing large quantities of fossil fuels such as mineral oil, gas, and hard coal. However, this may change with the transition to a climate-neutral energy system.
In the analysis “Resilience in the climate-neutral energy system of the future”, a team from the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI) looks at the storage capacities currently available in Germany for each energy source and uses this as a basis to determine the import resilience of the energy system. Assuming a constant level of resilience, the storage capacities required in the climate-neutral energy system of the future are calculated on the basis of the dena-Leitstudie “Aufbruch Klimaneutralität”.
In Germany, large quantities of fossil fuels are stored, with some required by law. The analysis shows a total stored energy volume of 722 TWh, varying depending on the time of year. Mineral oil, gas, and hard coal are the primary sources of stored energy, contributing 509 TWh, 169 TWh, and 44 TWh respectively. According to model calculations, the demand for stored energy in a future, climate-neutral energy system will decrease by 73 percent compared to the status quo. Assuming average storage levels similar to the status quo, a hydrogen storage capacity of 165 TWh would be required. Converting the current gas cavern storage facilities to accommodate the necessary hydrogen storage capacity would not suffice due to hydrogen’s lower volumetric energy density.