Recap of the NEFI Technology Talk 'Stable power grids despite fluctuating energy generation'

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by Oxana Schmidt

On April 10th 2024, the NEFI Technology Talk took place as part of the oö Zunkunftsforum Zukunftsforum Oberösterreich (= Future Forum of the region Upper Austria), bringing together more than 50 participants to discuss the challenge of stable electricity grids despite fluctuating energy generation.

Rapid grid expansion necessary

Thomas Kienberger (Head of the NEFI_Lab and the Chair of Energy Network Technology at the Montanuniversität Leoben) presented various scenarios and expansion plans for a climate-neutral Austria. Together with his team of researchers, he is developing technical expansion plans for electricity, methane and hydrogen transmission grids. Concidering the predicted sharp increase in demand for hydrogen, Kienberger called for the rapid expansion of electricity transmission grids and the conversion of the existing gas grid infrastructure to hydrogen and biogas.

Process heat as a sticking point

Christian Kissling from Kraftblock addressed the problem of industrial process heat. With its innovative high-temperature storage system, the German company utilises waste heat and renewable energies in industry to make a decisive contribution to the energy transition. The core of Kraftblock's technology is an innovative storage system that can store temperatures of up to 1,300°C and enables industrial companies to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Flexibility in the energy supply

Tara Esterl from the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology highlighted the need for strong, flexible grids in the future energy world. She emphasised that the decarbonised energy system of the future will require flexibility and presented the NEFI project "Industry4Redispatch", which is working on the optimal use of flexibility in industrial energy supply systems.

Vision of a 100 % renewable electricity system

David Wöss from BOKU Vienna outlined a scenario for a 100% renewable electricity system for Austria. This includes a mix of photovoltaics and wind energy as well as a hybrid storage system consisting of pumped storage, battery and electrolyser. However, he pointed out that bottlenecks in the grid and storage infrastructure have not yet been taken into account and emphasised the urgent need to expand the infrastructure in Austria.

The NEFI Technology Talk offered a comprehensive insight into the current challenges and solutions for stable electricity grids despite fluctuating energy generation and emphasised the need for rapid grid expansion and flexible energy supply systems for the future.

To the presentations (PDF-files in German)