Security of supply means that a supply of energy is guaranteed at all times, now and in the future. A secure supply of energy, not only of electricity but also of other final and primary energy sources, is greatly important both economically and socially.
In the German power supply, the increasing use of weather-dependent renewables creates new challenges, especially against the planned phase-out of nuclear power by 2022 and of coal-fired power generation by 2038. A secure power supply must also be guaranteed with a high share of renewables in the energy system – even if the wind does not blow (strongly) and the sun does not shine (much).
In addition to technical issues, regulation of the power supply system and the electricity markets is particularly important. Here, power plant operators need incentives to provide security of supply, for example, through so-called guaranteed capacity. In addition, sufficient fuels must be available. At present, this applies in particular to the energy sources gas and coal. In the long term, hydrogen and hydrogen-based downstream products such as synthetic methane will become important.
The EWI researches economic and regulatory aspects of the security of supply. This research includes the organization and design of electricity markets. The analyses of the EWI are based on economic theory as well as on numerical simulations. The findings are used to design and evaluate design options for the future framework conditions of a secure energy supply.
The quantitative modeling of electricity markets is one of the central competencies of the EWI. Security of supply can be assessed, for example, based on scenario calculations with the EWI’s energy system model DIMENSION. In particular, the influence of fluctuating electricity generation from renewable energies can be mapped. Furthermore, the cross-sectoral consideration in the model makes it possible to explicitly map changes in electricity consumption structure caused, for example, by more heat pumps or electric vehicles.
In addition, restrictions due to the grid infrastructure can be taken into account. The influence of long periods with low temperatures and low availability of renewable energies, so-called cold dark periods, can also be quantitatively analyzed with the EWI models. Based on the quantitative analyses, implications and recommendations for practice and policy can be derived.
The EWI can develop comprehensive scenarios, for example, on the impact of supply disruptions due to pipeline failure or disruption of international trade routes. This detailed research is carried out with EWI’s different models for resource markets, such as TIGER for the European gas infrastructure, COLUMBUS for the global gas market, or DROPS for the global oil market. Based on the results, the impact of the before-mentioned events on the European energy supply system can be assessed. Furthermore, by linking other models statements about implications for electricity markets can be derived.