Make it big?

Nov 22, 2023, 1:43:12 PM | Stadtwerke Jena Gruppe | Aktuelles, Pressemitteilungen | Energie- & Wärmewende
Real-world laboratory for the energy transition JenErgieReal successfully presented at the German government's digital summit

A downright enthusiastic Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck, exciting discussions with representatives from business, science and politics and many interested visitors at the stand: Stadtwerke Jena can look back on two very successful days as part of the supporting program of the 16th Digital Summit of the Federal Government in Jena. At the „Market of Digital Opportunities“, Stadtwerke Jena presented the JenErgieReal energy transition real laboratory together with representatives of the West German University of Applied Sciences in Zwickau.

The project, which was launched at the end of 2022, is looking for concrete solutions for a successful energy transition in cities. The aim is to intelligently cover the increasing demand for electricity due to the simultaneous energy, heat and transport transition. The core of the project is the creation of a virtual power plant. This is intended to link producers, consumers and storage of electricity and heat from the residential, commercial and transport sectors and make them controllable in real time - depending on the availability of electricity in the grid. This should largely avoid expensive grid expansion, which is difficult to implement in urban areas. In this way, digitalization can make the energy transition in cities needs-based and affordable.

Digitalization is a key to the success of the energy transition,“ emphasized Stadtwerke Managing Director Tobias Wolfrum during the visit of Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Grüne) at the JenErgieReal stand. We want to make better use of the available energy and control consumption down to the level of the individual home - depending on the respective load in the electricity grid. And we want to do this in real time, because this is the only way to ensure that our measures serve the grid,“ explained Wolfrum to the interested minister.

The fact that such digitization measures are effective has already been demonstrated by Stadtwerke in the "Smartes Quartier Jena-Lobeda" project. There, 30 percent of heating energy was saved in a prefabricated GDR building through digital heating control and the insulation of joints and basement ceilings alone. JenErgieReal is now extending its focus beyond the heating sector to the urban power supply, where it hopes to achieve similarly large savings. „Make it big“, the Minister told the project partners. „And make sure that even more cities learn about these impressive results.“ 

JenErgieReal was one of 20 winning projects in the 2019 ideas competition "Real-world laboratories of the energy transition". The broad-based joint project brings together energy suppliers and grid operators, municipalities, industry, the housing sector, science and a social association. Specifically, Stadtwerke Energie Jena-Pößneck, Stadtwerke Jena Netze and Thuringia's largest landlord jenawohnen are involved, as well as the city of Jena, the West German University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, the Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena, the AWO Regionalverband Mitte-West-Thüringen and the metering device manufacturer Brunata-Metrona. In addition to the implementation of the virtual power plant and the construction of large-scale thermal and electrical storage facilities, there are other project priorities. These are primarily social science research into the acceptance of the energy transition and digitalization, the derivation of urban planning findings and regulatory learning in order to identify potential for improvement in current energy law.

Feasibility analyses and the design of prototypes are currently underway for the JenErgieReal energy transition real laboratory. Concrete implementation could begin on site in Jena in 2025. The results should be available in 2027. The project volume for research and investment amounts to more than 41 million euros. 20.4 million of this comes from funding from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK). Investments of over 17 million euros are planned locally in Jena, including for the construction of large-scale electricity and heat storage facilities and renewable energy generation plants.

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