Düsseldorf - There is more energy converted and used in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) than in any other state in Germany. The long tradition of using natural resources has given rise to broad expertise in energy technology in NRW. The federal state is home to a dense network of research institutions, together with a large number of companies offering innovative energy products and services aimed at boosting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. From extracting the raw materials for the energy sector to converting these resources to energy, many companies with a future orientation consider NRW to be the perfect location for their business. EnergieAgentur.NRW offers a tool with wide variety of competencies that the state can use to continue to build on its position of leadership and achieve its goals in the energy sector (climate protection, conservation of resources, economic viability, and reliability of supply). (www.energieagentur.nrw.de)
EnergieAgentur.NRW manages the EnergieRegion.NRW (energy economy) (www.energieregion.nrw.de) and the EnergieForschung.NRW (energy research) CEF.NRW (www.cef.nrw.de) clusters. EnergieAgentur.NRW also offers energy consulting services in the form of initial and contracting consulting for companies and administrative bodies as well as information and further education and training services for professionals and private individuals. The portfolio of tasks also includes training in user behaviour.
Promotion of energy and climate-protection technology: The state government uses its progres.nrw – Market launch program to introduce and disseminate a large number of technologies that can be used to make efficient and economical use of energy and produce electricity and heat from renewable energy sources. The program promotes market-competitive plants that still require start-up assistance for a limited period of time to achieve the desired economic application. This also includes augmented use of heat potentials, such as waste heat and geothermal energy; expansion of electricity- and heat-storage installations; and the use of integrated systems for the implementation of climate districts urban energy solutions.
The aim of the program is to reduce CO2 emissions by increasing energy efficiency and the share of renewable energies while accelerating the cogeneration in the electricity and heat sectors that the future energy system will require. This is how the program makes a major contribution toward reaching the state’s energy and climate targets.
Nearly 25,000 applications for funding totalling some 49 million euros were granted in 2020. The focus of funding last year was on electric battery storage in tandem with a new PV system, geothermal drilling, and residential ventilation systems. More than 140,000 individual projects have already received around 940 million euros in support since the market launch of the progres.nrw program. (www.progres.nrw.de).
Share of German consumption of electricity and primary energy: In 2020, round 46 percent of gross electricity consumption – and thus approximately 17 percent of total primary energy consumption in Germany – stemmed from renewable energies. (NRW in 2019: Around a 16-percent share of renewable energy in electricity consumption and around a 5-percent share of renewable energy in primary energy consumption). The 2020 leader in power generation from renewable energies throughout Germany was wind energy, which accounted for more than 24 percent of gross electricity generation. This is followed by photovoltaics and biomass, with about 9 percent apiece, and hydropower with 4 percent. This makes renewable energies once again the most important generator of electricity in Germany. In 2020, this was followed by: Lignite, at about 16 percent, natural gas at 16 percent, nuclear energy at 12 percent, and coal at 8 percent.
In the area of total primary energy consumption (electricity, heat, mobility) in Germany in 2020, mineral oil accounted for 34 percent, natural gas 27 percent, renewable energies 17 percent, lignite 8 percent, coal just under 8 percent and nuclear energy 6 percent. (www.ag-energiebilanzen.de; www.bmwi.de; www.erneuerbare-energien.de)
Jobs: According to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, in 2019, 17.2 billion euros of economic stimulus was generated nationwide through the operation of renewable-energy plants. There were investments of around 10.5 billion euros. In the previous year, 2018, renewable energies secured 304,400 jobs in Germany. Of these, around 121,700 were in wind power, 108,100 in biomass, 45,700 in solar energy, 23,400 in geothermal energy and 5,500 in hydroelectric power. More than 4,700 firms in NRW employed around 46,000 people in the field of renewable energies in 2018. (www.foederal-erneuerbar.de; www.wirtschaft.nrw; www.bmwi.de; www.bmub.bund.de; www.lee-nrw.de; www.ag-energiebilanzen.de; www.erneuerbare-energien.de)
Mining industry: With more than 660 members, the ‘Mining Industry’ Network organized by EnergieAgentur.NRW focuses on the mining supply industry and securing the supply of raw materials. Together with VDMA Mining, the network accounts for 100 percent of NRW/German mining suppliers to SMEs. In the course of market globalisation and the transformation of the domestic mining sector in North Rhine-Westphalia, the network also strengthens the efforts of NRW companies to tap into new business fields and international markets. Renewable energies and the raw materials sector must be considered together, particularly if the energy transition is to succeed. With this purpose in mind, there is regular interaction with the German Foreign Chambers of Commerce and mining competence centres; this interaction was intensified in the form of various webinars, particularly in the coronavirus era. It is also important to promote innovation through the use of sustainable technologies. In regional terms, the Mining Industry Network plays an active role in ‘Mine ReWIR,’ a project funded by the German federal government to help manage structural change in the coalfields of the Rhineland. In cooperation with RWTH Aachen University, Nivelsteiner Sandwerke GmbH, RWE and VDMA Mining, relevant stakeholders from all across the field of active raw-material extraction and the associated supplier sector are brought together to join them in establishing a regional network for innovation, thus paving the way for the phase-out of reliance on lignite.
Other important topics include education and training, industrial safety, environmental protection and after-mining. (www.energieagentur.nrw/bergbau)
Initial consultation on energy: In 2020, the engineers at EnergieAgentur.NRW carried out more than 770 consultations for companies and municipalities statewide.
Municipalities: 67 municipalities or districts in NRW take part in the “European Energy Award” process for energy management, and 248 municipalities use the Climate-protection planner CO2 balance sheet tool. Approx. 1,000 subscribers turn to Online-RundBrief.Kommune, a newsletter for municipalities, for the latest news on local-government-based climate protection.
In addition to the many online offers for the implementation of measures in the various fields of action for climate protection at the local-government level, EnergieAgentur.NRW ensured that there would virtual and professional networking and information-sharing during the coronavirus crisis, such as at the online conference of municipalities it held together with Ökozentrum NRW for more than 300 participants. On the topic of the climate crisis, some 250 participants met at the event held in cooperation with the German Federal Environmental Foundation and entitled “Meine Kommune im Klimanotstand – Was nun?” (My local government in the state of climate emergency – What now?).
Since autumn 2020, officials in climate protection and the energy sector in local government in NRW have had exclusive access to Kom.EMS, the comprehensive tool for quality assurance and assessment in local energy-management systems.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time, the ceremony to present the European Energy Award for quality management systems was not held in a central location during the reporting period. The awards ceremonies were held in the five administrative districts of North Rhine-Westphalia, comprising a total of 29 prize-winning municipalities.
An extensive compendium to help public administrators implement climate-protection measures directly is available at www.energieagentur.nrw/tool/handbuch-klimaschutz. The KommEN database of best practices at www.energieagentur.nrw/klimaexpo also offers suitable examples of good climate-protection practices, together with contacts at the local-government level.
Businesses: In the course of their consulting on energy efficiency, both independent engineers and the consultants at EnergieAgentur.NRW have noticed that the measures proposed are not always implemented. The joint search for the causes and remedies of this situation led to creation of a cooperation arrangement between the two groups: the Netzwerk für Ingenieurbüros (network for engineering offices). The goal of the strategic partnership is to enlist shared potentials so that companies can implement more energy-efficiency projects. The network holds roundtable meetings twice a year where the focus is on a sharing of views and experiences between EnergieAgentur.NRW and independent energy consultants. The network also has an online platform for engineering offices on the EnergieAgentur.NRW website for a faster exchange of information and opinions. The network core consists of cooperative consulting. Within the cooperative-consultation framework, the initial consultation by EnergieAgentur.NRW and the detailed consultation by independent consultants from engineering offices, are networked with each other. To participate in the “Cooperative Consulting” Project, EnergieAgentur.NRW has developed a Letter of Intent (LOI) specifying the criteria and conditions of participation.(www.energieagentur.nrw/energieeffizienz/unternehmen/netzwerk_fuer_ingenieurbueros)
Helpful software is available for systematic energy management in a business operation – as well as the updated EMS.Marktspiegel, a market report that simplifies selection of the right program. (www.energieagentur.nrw/energieeffizienz/unternehmen/ems.marktspiegel)
The Kurz-Energiecheck offers an initial assessment of energy consumption in your own company in a comparison with the industry average.
Building renovations for energy efficiency: Energy-efficient buildings are future-focused. From the beginning of 2006 through September 2020, some 120,000 loan applications with a volume of approximately 11 billion euros were approved by KfW throughout NRW to finance building renovations for energy efficiency. These funds made it possible to renovate more than 515,000 residential units in NRW. During that same period, nearly 225,000 applications, with a financial volume totalling more than 385 million euros, were submitted for the funding energy-efficient building renovations. This made it possible to carry out renovations for energy efficiency in some 390,000 residential units in NRW. (www.energieagentur.nrw/modernisierung)
ALTBAUNEU (New Old Buildings): This is the name of a joint initiative of municipalities and districts in North Rhine-Westphalia. It helps participating local authorities in advising their citizens and building owners on sensible execution of energy-efficient building renovations. The ALTBAUNEU project involves 11 rural districts and 22 cities and towns not attached to an administrative district. These alone represent more than 53 percent of the population of North Rhine-Westphalia. The initiative is coordinated centrally by EnergieAgentur.NRW, supported by the Verbraucherzentrale (consumer-protection organization) for NRW and the skilled trades in NRW and implemented locally by participating local authorities. (www.alt-bau-neu.de)
Energiesparer NRW (NRW Energy Savers): There were 4,016 “Energiesparer NRW” plaques awarded for energy savers throughout NRW between 2003 and 2020. The NRW Ministry of Economic Affairs awards the plaque for buildings that have exemplary levels of energy consumption or make use of renewable energies. EnergieAgentur.NRW coordinates this campaign.(www.energieagentur.nrw/gebaeude/auszeichnung_fuer_ihr_haus)
Energieatlas.NRW (Energy Atlas NRW): The EnergieAtlas.NRW specialist information system of the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia (LANUV NRW) is a nationwide platform providing information on the current status, expansion possibilities and potential for renewable energies in North Rhine-Westphalia. Since 2012, each day, some 250 users www.energieatlas.nrw.de have clicked their way through the state government’s data and planning fundamentals for installations for the generation of power and heat. The website offers a variety of thematic maps that citizens can search to identify potential areas for new renewable-energy plants and then begin planning directly. The solar potentials for each roof are stored in the nationwide Solarkataster (solar roof registry). Citizens can use it to calculate the cost-effectiveness of a solar-power system. The planning of open-space photovoltaic systems has also been possible since late 2020. The Wärmekataster (heat registry) displays renewable and efficient sources of heat as well as heat sinks. Energiedaten (energy data) presents more than 80 diagrams and tables showing the state of the energy transformation in NRW. All of the data and bases for planning at EnergieAtlas.NRW are available for further use, free of charge. (www.energieatlas.nrw.de, www.solarkataster.nrw.de, www.waermekataster.nrw.de, www.energiedaten.nrw.de)
Energy information: “innovation & energie" magazine a publication of EnergieAgentur.NRW is established as a trade journal and reached nearly 31,500 subscribers per issue in 2020. In addition, more than 45,000 of all previously published editions of innovation & energy (digital and in print) were ordered or called up through the online information service of NRW.direkt – the citizens’ and service centre for the state government. The magazine of EnergieAgentur.NRW (4 issues) thus reached more than 210,000 readers. The English-language edition is used, for example, in the context of the external economic activities of EnergieAgentur.NRW. From 2021, the magazine will only be published in digital form only (web magazine with three web formats).
The e-mail newsletter igoes out to nearly 17,000 subscribers each week. The newsletter also publishes special issues devoted to specific topics. The family of websites with www.energieagentur.nrw as the main page is one of the most-visited pages in the energy sector: In 2020, the websites of EnergieAgentur.NRW and a variety of other topic-based portals registered around 2.36 million page views and more than 1 million visitors. EnergieAgentur.NRW’s online media currently include 41 online tools with more than 571,000 users and almost 750,000 sessions.
Nearly 238,850 brochures were downloaded as pdf files through EnergieAgentur.NRW website, and more than 75,700 printed brochures were sent via post. There are currently a total of 223 different publications available.
The @eanrw Twitter account has more than 8,642 followers at year’s end. A total of almost 1,380 Twitter messages were sent with a reach of more than 3.1 million. The “EA.NRW” Facebook page as 2,577 followers, a reach of more than 300,000 and 755 posts. Content of this nature is communicated on EnergieAgentur.NRW’s corporate page on Facebook under the heading “Klimaschutz (Climate protection) – made in NRW”. There were 832 followers during the reporting period. The page has a reach of more than 9,000 followers. Another Facebook page with 272 followers of EA.NRW is available for the “EnergieJobs.NRW” project.
The corporate page at XING had 609 subscribers during the reporting period. The corporate page developed in 2017 on LinkedIn has 1,455 followers; the Instagram page that dates to 2018 has 1,226 followers and a reach of more than 85,338 users.
The following figures reflect the success of the EA.TV tool: There are currently 168 self-produced videos available on the EnergieAgentur.NRW’s YouTube channel. 18 new videos were published during the reporting period. The channel has 3,620 subscribers. Altogether, the EA.TV videos were viewed more than 575,000 times in 2020. The playback time totalled to more than 21,539 hours.
The ‘Energy-efficient construction and renovation’ network: Energy-efficient building construction and renovation is crucial, as one-third of the total final energy consumption in Germany is required for indoor heating and the production of hot water in buildings. The ‘Energy-efficient and solar construction’ network takes a project-based approach consisting primarily of initiating and disseminating best-practice projects. The network fosters innovation transfer and the dissemination of information, among other things through network meetings at which innovative technologies and concrete project results are presented and knowledge sharing amongst multipliers in the building sector is facilitated.(www.energieagentur.nrw/netzwerk/energieeffizientes-und-solares-bauen)
With the aim of implementing climate protection measures not only building planning but at the level of urban planning as well, the ‘100 climate-protection housing estates in North Rhine-Westphalia’ project was developed within the context of network outreach. In these climate-protection housing estates, CO2 emissions due to heat estates (new construction and renovations of existing structures) – and hence the energy costs – are consistently reduced. EnergieAgentur.NRW coordinates this exemplary project, which introduced CO2 limits and a corresponding verification procedure for buildings.
A total of more than 100 projects have been examined by a commission of experts and awarded ‘climate-protection housing estate NRW’ status. There are more than 10,000 people living in the 53 estates already completed. This shows that, with consistent and sustainable planning, ambitious projects for energy-efficient construction or renovation are possible. (www.energieagentur.nrw/klimaschutzsiedlungen)
Aside from residential housing construction, the network also focuses on non-residential buildings. Particularly in the case of non-residential buildings, such as schools and office buildings, there is considerable potential for energy savings and thus for reducing CO2 emissions. That is why in 2019, together with the NRW Ministry of Economics, EnergieAgentur.NRW created a new project to award prizes to particularly energy-efficient schools and office buildings. The aim is to identify exemplary buildings and draw public attention to them. The aim is also to provide a broad audience with access to the experiences of planners, owners and users.(www.energieagentur.nrw/gebaeude/energieeffiziente-nichtwohngebaeude)
Energy research:North Rhine-Westphalia is a leader in the field of energy research – even in comparison with other states in Germany. In North Rhine-Westphalia, there are more than 30 renowned universities, some 20 top non-university research institutes, and the research departments of numerous firms working on the key issues involved in energy and climate matters. Still, the complexity of the challenges involved in the energy transformation and climate protection calls for a pooling of existing competencies. That is where the work of the EnergieForschung.NRW cluster (CEF.NRW) comes into play.
The cluster connects stakeholders in the field of energy research across the entire value chain. It aims to ensure that technological and socioeconomic advances are implemented more rapidly than in the past. With this in mind, the cluster initiates research and development projects in the coordinated cooperation of research institutions with the business community and civil society. CEF.NRW also helps bridge the gap to energy-related activities on the part of the EU and the German federal government as well as to social initiatives. Organised by EnergieAgentur.NRW, CEF.NRW is the point of contact for all questions of energy research in North Rhine-Westphalia. (www.cef.nrw.de)
Energy management: The “Energiewirtschaft – Smart Energy” (Energy sector – Smart energy) network of EnergieAgentur.NRW promotes North Rhine-Westphalian companies in the energy sector in their efforts to develop, implement and expand new business models focussing on innovations and digitalisation.
1,000 members strong, the network has key target groups including municipal utilities, start-ups, and other firms in the energy sector in NRW. The network helps its members identify and expand market opportunities by providing information, support, and networking all along the value chain. In the approx. 20 events, workshops and presentations held in 2020, the network promoted in-depth dialogue amongst the business and science communities, associations, and public institutions to transfer knowledge and expertise for the benefit of companies in an effort to identify, advance and successfully implement innovation potential.
An important tool in this connection is InnovationPlatform.NRW. This platform offers an opportunity for more than 1,600 start-ups to get in contact with potential clients. These linkages have led to many cooperation arrangements and millions in investments.
The main activity of the network involves identifying, and sharing experience and knowledge around, innovative business models in the following main topics: Internal digitalisation and process optimisation; innovations and start-ups; urban energy solutions and smart cities; IT infrastructures (LoRaWAN, 450MHz, Campus networks), cybersecurity and the blockchain; sector linkages; flexibility and energy- management systems and the operation of the InnovationPlatform.NRW.(www.energieagentur.nrw/energiewirtschaft)
ErneuerbareEnergien.NRW (renewable energies): A rethinking of the energy transformation is under way in the ErneuerbareEnergien.NRW project. This is where the teams working on power-generating renewable biomass, geothermal energy, photovoltaics, hydroelectric power, and wind energy as well as the areas of financing & business models, and participation & planning, join forces in a focus on composite solutions. Each technology delivers its potentials to contribute its share to a balanced and stable supply of power. A broad range of communication and events provides specialist information, providing a clearinghouse on the topic of renewable energies to the professional world and the general public. (www.energieagentur.nrw/erneuerbare-energien)
Numerous online tools, such as the blog ErneuerbareEnergien.NRW (Renewable Energies NRW), the Branchenführer.Erneuerbare (renewables directory) or the Bürgerenergie.Atlas (citizens’ energy atlas) provide extensive information on the opportunities and challenges of the energy transformation, giving interested parties the opportunity, in just a few clicks, to learn about stakeholders and projects for the energy transformation in North Rhine-Westphalia. Operators can use the Stromvermarktung.Navi (electricity marketing navigator) to compare alternative forms of usage or marketing for CHP power and power from renewable-energy plants. The Förder.Navi (funding navigatior) iis also an in-demand online tool that, in just a few clicks, delivers a reliable overview of current funding opportunities in the energy sector.
Generating power from renewable energies: In NRW, wind energy and photovoltaics (PV) are the driving forces behind the energy transformation. In 2020, for example, renewable electricity was provided by exactly 3,818 wind turbines with a capacity of 6,174 megawatts (MW) and around 300,000 PV systems with an installed capacity of nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW). According to the EnergieAtlas.NRW, there were also 1,367 biogas plants and 448 hydroelectric plants contributing to climate protection in North Rhine-Westphalia at the end of 2019. Altogether, renewables in NRW account for 16.1 percent of electricity consumption.
Share of individual renewable energy sources in total electricity consumption from renewable energy sources in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2019:
Wind energy: 49.6%
Landfill, sewage & mine gas: 4.5%
Hydroelectric power: 2.4%
The topic areas and technologies
Participation and planning: The participation & planning topic portal provides detailed guidance and suggestions on public participation together with information on various aspects of planning and approval processes for the construction of renewable-energy plants. The aim is to provide support to all stakeholders with competent knowledge transfer and initial advice on behalf of developing renewable energies implemented in an environmentally-friendly manner and with the involvement of the local population. (www.energieagentur.nrw/beratung/beteiligung)
Financing and business models: EnergieAgentur.NRW also helps develop and disseminate information about financing opportunities and business models for renewable-energy projects in NRW. In view of shifting and expiring opportunities for the funding of renewable energies, the possibilities of own supply and the direct marketing of electricity through alternative models are important consulting topics that are increasingly in focus. (www.energieagentur.nrw/finanzierung)
Biomass: This all-rounder amongst the sources of renewable energy generates electricity from renewable raw materials. That this form of power is independent of sunlight and wind speaks in favour of biomass – which can be used to cushion peak load times, for example. To help access and further develop this potential in the future, the ErneuerbareEnergien.NRW (renewable energies) project supports this sector in NRW. (www.energieagentur.nrw/bioenergie)
Geothermal energy (power generation): Geothermal energy is a reliable source of energy that is available whenever needed. Geothermal energy can be harnessed to generate electricity at temperatures of approx. 120 degrees Celsius or more. NRW is still in the early stages of the use of deep geothermal energy; electricity derived from geothermal energy has not yet been generated here. The latest research focusses on conventional hydrothermal reservoirs in fissured, sedimentary sandstone as well as calcareous limestones and dolomites. (www.energieagentur.nrw/geothermie)
Photovoltaics: The use of photovoltaics is an important pillar in the energy mix of tomorrow. As the costs of generating solar power from rooftop systems have now dropped below the price of purchasing power from the grid, own consumption of solar power is growing increasingly important – not just ecologically, but economically as well. With their low generation costs, open-area PV installations, which are allowed in NRW along infrastructure lines and in conversion areas, can make an important contribution to the power supply. (www.energieagentur.nrw/solarenergie)
Hydroelectric power: The reliable energy source of hydroelectric power can be used decentrally, is capable of providing base load power, stabilises the grid and thus makes a small yet important contribution to the power supply. In order to remain sustainable, topics such as the ecologically compatible expansion within the network as well as the reactivation and optimisation of the plants, form part of the work in the ErneuerbareEnergien.NRW (renewable energies) project.(www.energieagentur.nrw/wasserkraft)
Wind energy: Wind energy, an important part of the energy transformation, makes a significant contribution to the generation of electricity from renewables in NRW as well. NRW is also home to an impressive range of players along the entire value chain and a globally leading supplier industry. With its work, the Wind Energy Division promotes the innovative capacity of the industry and supports sustainable and accepted expansion of wind energy in NRW. (www.energieagentur.nrw/windenergie)
Geothermal energy (heat generation and deep geothermal energy): The topic of geothermal energy is gaining increasing importance among energy technologies. NRW, and in this case the Ruhr metropolis in particular, occupies a key position as the headquarters of numerous market-leading companies. With warm mine water in disused mines, NRW has significant potential for use in heating buildings; this is a potential that still needs to be developed. To systematically assess the potential of mine water, the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV NRW) prepared a study on ‘warm mine water’.
Systematically expanding deep geothermal energy in North Rhine-Westphalia, will first require characterising the usability of rock formations that carry thermal water. Based on the current state of research, a high potential for geothermal energy is expected in carbonate and sandstone layers dating to the Devonian and Carbon eras, as well as in sandstone and limestone formations dating to the Mesozoic era. The study of these potentials is the aim of the EU-funded INTERREG project on the ‘Roll-out of Deep Geothermal Energy in NWE’, also known as ‘DGE Rollout’. This effort is meant to set the course for the deep-geothermal market in north-western Europe, promote projects and explore the requisite geological potentials.(www.energieagentur.nrw/geothermie)
With the ‘Heat from deep geothermal energy for North Rhine-Westphalia’ project, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia seeks to tap further potential for geothermal heat supply for the supply of district and local heating networks, or for industrial processes, such as paper drying. The competition is aimed at municipalities or municipal consortia that seek to investigate the potential for deep geothermal energy in municipalities, for example, in conjunction with industrial firms, power utilities or scientific institutions.
The use of near-surface geothermal energy can meet more than half of the demand for heat in North Rhine-Westphalia. This is shown by the ‘Study of the potential of renewable energies in NRW – Part 4 – Geothermal energy’. According to calculations by the Landesumweltamt [State Environmental Agency], which prepared the state-wide study of potentials, the potential for the use of near-surface geothermal energy in NRW is almost 154 terawatt hours per year (TWh/a).
This could cover about 57 percent of the annual demand for heat. As the study shows, climate-friendly use of geothermal energy in North Rhine-Westphalia is not yet exhausted, and NRW presents excellent conditions for the use of near-surface geothermal energy. (www.energieatlas.nrw.de)
The geothermal portal of North Rhine-Westphalia permits quick and extensive access to information for the planning of ground-coupled heat-pump systems. The geological and hydrogeological conditions for the use of geothermal energy have been assessed for every location in North Rhine-Westphalia. This applies not only to shallow geothermal collectors but also to geothermal probes at depths of up to 100 metres. In addition to information on the efficiency of both systems, the online portal also provides information on hydrogeologically critical areas where particular attention must be paid to implementation through boring and sustainable plant operation in an effort to protect groundwater. With ‘professional access’ to the geothermal portal, experts including drilling companies, architects and planners can consult more than 30,000 bore logs. (www.geothermie.nrw.de)
The district government of Arnsberg provides information on ways in which a boring project might be subject to hazards due to mining. (www.bezreg-arnsberg.nrw.de/themen/a/auskunft_bergbaul_situation)
Mine Gas: There were 85 mining permits for mine gas granted in NRW in 2020. Two authorisations were revoked in 2020. By the end of 2020, there were 107 combined heat and power plant modules and a turbine set in operation, with a total installed electrical output of 168 megawatts. Even the 544 million kWh of electricity produced in 2020 was enough power to supply nearly 121,000 households. The heat output totalled to more than 108 million kWh in 2020. The total potential for mine gas used led to a reduction of almost 2.9 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020. (www.wirtschaft.nrw.de)
Wood + Pellets: While there were only around 660 funded plants registered in NRW in 2003, today there are more than 38,500 MAP-funded pellet heaters in NRW (more than 300,000 nationwide), supplying citizens with renewable heat. In addition, there are local heating networks and compact solutions for multi-family dwellings, increasingly also joined by commercial properties that operate on the basis of wood pellets. The aim of the Wood+Pellets campaign is to work with industry partners and stakeholders to strengthen this heating technology while consolidating and expanding this positive market trend. Through its work across the country, the campaign links the various stakeholders along the value chain in the wood pellet industry; the focus here is on NRW. The Wood+Pellets campaign currently has the active support of more than 100 companies in the industry, offering a unique example of successful cooperation between manufacturers, the retail sector, the skilled trades and public administrators. The synergy effects, in which this results, permits a competent knowledge transfer for consumers. (www.aktion-holzpellets.de)
InnovationPlatform.NRW (Innovation Platform NRW): With its Innovationsplattform.NRW (innovation platform), EnergieAgentur.NRW offers an online tool devoted to the topic of energy-sector innovations from and for NRW. On the platform, firms from North Rhine-Westphalia receive active support for innovation scouting, the search for project partners and the implementation of new business models and digital process improvements. In doing so, the platform also systematically promotes networking among the various stakeholders from science, business, and research. Project requests give firms and start-ups alike an opportunity to find the right partners for their projects. Start-ups do not live from ‘pitches’ but from billable services. The platform has generated more than 250 contacts for start-ups and potential clients to date. In 2019, the cooperation initiated between start-ups and e.g. municipal utilities from NRW generated orders and investments of more than one million euros. Thanks to a live matchmaking function, users can automatically introduce themselves to cooperation partners of interest based on pre-set preferences without actively having to search for them themselves. The innovation platform also places a focus on a key topic each month. Interesting start-ups, innovative project ideas and current developments in the sector relating to the key topic are brought together on a single page.
The offer is supplemented by the latest news from the start-up sector, a list of different innovation methods, display of current start-up challenges with direct opportunities to take part, and a personalised compilation of different offers from the innovation platform based on the interests of the user – the personal feed.
The Innovationsplattform.NRW currently lists fully 800 start-ups, 176 of them from North Rhine-Westphalia. The point of contact for the innovation platform is the Energy Sector – Smart Energy network. (www.innovation-plattform.energieagentur.nrw)
International Relations: Efficient energy technologies as well as technologies for the use of renewable energies ‘made in NRW’ are in great demand worldwide. In this sense, EnergieAgentur.NRW opens up necessary global perspectives for firms in these sectors: The foreign-trade activities of EnergieAgentur.NRW foster the internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises within the framework of the stand-alone remit on ‘International Relations’, so that they can boost their growth, secure their competitive advantages, enter into global partnerships and participate more in world trade. To this end, the International Relations Division actively teams up with a network of numerous national and international partners in business, finance, research, and the political sphere. The network comprises nearly 3,000 contacts at home and abroad.
The use of instruments such as entrepreneur travel, trade fair presentations, information events on foreign markets and the maintenance of international contacts will lead to an increase in added value for SMEs in the energy sector as well as an expansion of their presence in international markets. Especially in times of travel restrictions due to the current situation, the increased use of web-based tools at information events, specialist forums and virtual trade fair appearances in foreign markets bolsters added value for North Rhine-Westphalian energy firms.
EnergieAgentur.NRW is also building long-term partnerships with other regions in order to mutually benefit from a sharing of knowledge and experience. In the energy sector, for example, there has been close interaction with the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima since 2013, as well as a partnership with Denmark around the topic of the heat transformation. In pandemic-free times, EnergieAgentur.NRW also ordinarily welcomes around 25 international delegations each year to discuss current issues in energy and present innovative lighthouse projects from the region. (www.energieagentur.nrw/international)
KlimaKonzept.NRW (Climate Concept NRW): For six years, the model KlimaKonzept.NRW project has supported and monitored efforts by other public authorities in the state of NRW to develop their own energy- and climate-protection concepts as required by Section 5 of the Climate Protection Act NRW. The project reaches some 80 public entities, including numerous non-profit corporations, public institutions, or foundations. The KlimaBericht.NRW gives them an online tool that permits the creation and continuous updating of an own energy and CO2 balance sheet. Potential CO2 savings that can technically and economically be implemented in the short, medium, and long terms, together with potentials for increasing energy efficiency, can also be stored as a catalogue of measures. The KlimaBericht.NRW online tool is also a controlling instrument for use in monitoring achievement of intended climate-protection targets. As part of the project, two lectures were held at public events last year, together with 17 individual consultations on climate protection in active facilities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The project roll-out was also accelerated, and as a result, five local authorities and three additional semi-public institutions could be acquired.(www.energieagentur.nrw/klimaschutz/klimakonzept-nrw).
KlimaNetzwerker.NRW (Climate Networkers NRW): Since 2012, KlimaNetzwerker.NRW has been working across-the-board for climate protection and energy efficiency on the state government’s behalf. They help drive the local energy transformation in their regions and regional development companies and offer a central point of contact for municipalities, businesses, and citizens in matters of climate protection, energy efficiency and climate-change adaptation. The total of twelve “climate networkers” work in the five government districts of NRW and in the Ruhr Regional Association (RVR). One climate networker is responsible for climate-change adaptation for all of NRW.
The climate networkers serve as a ‘pivot’ between their district, the state level, and the regional partners, initiating projects for climate protection and communicating these throughout the state. In their work, they can draw on the portfolio and expertise of EnergieAgentur.NRW while also brokering state offers. Climate networkers place their own emphases when organising events and initiating projects.
In 2020, 470 events were organised with partners in the regions. Networks are set up regionally to reach all of the 396 municipalities in NRW. The climate networkers are on the road every day in the area to reach the target groups directly on location with their information presentations. Current projects and information are posted promptly on the Internet through the EnergieAgentur.NRW website.(www.energieagentur.nrw/klimaschutz/klimanetzwerker)
Power-plant technologies: Even after the coal phase-out decided in August 2020, NRW remains Germany’s leading location for power plants, with around 25,450 MW of installed power-plant capacity. The increasing share of renewables in electricity generation, however, means that this plant-generated power is very rarely fully connected to the grid, and that is why these power plants are in operation for significantly fewer hours than they were just a few years ago. Unprofitable power plant units are sometimes shut down. According to the German Federal Network Agency, some 11,320 MW has been taken off the grid since 2011.
Power plants must increasingly fulfil the task of regulating the fluctuating supply of renewables to the grid, and this calls for a high degree of flexibility. The ever-increasing, fluctuating supply of renewables and the simultaneous downturn in other generation capacity often leads to bottlenecks in the grid; these must be remedied by re-dispatch measures taken by the responsible grid operator. While the frequency of intervention initially increased between 2010 to 2015, it dropped for the first time in 2016. The ups and downs in the frequency of these interventions have remained. It increased in 2017, decreased in 2018 and increased again in 2019. During the first three quarters of 2020, re-dispatch measures totalled to 12,729 hours, representing an increase of 19 percent over the comparable period of 2019 (10,734 hours).
The Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment (WSB-Kommission) that was set up by the German federal government in 2018 presented its final report in January 2019 in which it proposes a phase-out of coal by the year 2038. This coal phase-out will be stipulated in a German Act to Reduce and End Coal-Fired Power Generation (Kohleausstiegsgesetz). This law stipulates that Germany will gradually withdraw from coal-fired power by the end of 2038.
Negotiated between the state premiers of the lignite-producing German states and the German federal government, the compromise provides for the decommissioning of 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of power-plant capacity in the Rhineland by the end of 2022. The three modern 1-GW units in Neurath and Niederaußem are the only lignite-fired power plants permitted to remain on the grid through the end of 2038. The compromise also stipulated that Datteln 4, a modern, 1.1-GW, coal-fired unit is permitted to be the last coal-fired power plant to go onto the grid in the summer of 2020. The German Federal Network Agency will use various tendering procedures to decide on the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants and small lignite plants of up to 150 MW by 2027. On 1 December 2020, the German Federal Network Agency announced the results of the first call for tenders to reduce coal-fired electricity and published the successful bids of the first round of tenders under the German Act on the Use of Coal for Electricity Generation.
The following coal-fired power plants from NRW have been earmarked for decommissioning:
- Power plant Walsum 9 of STEAG GmbH (370 MW)
- Power plant Westfalen of RWE Generation SE (763.7 MW)
- Power plant Ibbenbüren of RWE Generation SE (794 MW)
- Power plant of the Warburg sugar plant of Südzucker AG (4.6 MW)
Effective 1 January 2021, the plants earmarked for decommissioning are no longer permitted to market the power or work of their plants generated by coal on the electricity market. (www.energieagentur.nrw/netzwerk/kraftwerkstechnik)
Cogeneration: Combined heat and power (CHP) is a classic sector-coupling technology that combines electricity and heat generation in an extremely efficient way, thereby contributing to the flexibility of these two sectors. CHP is characterised by a particularly high level of fuel efficiency. This significantly reduces CO2 emissions when compared to the separate generation of electricity and heat. While cogeneration is already in use in many areas, its potential remains vast and not yet fully tapped. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia underscores the importance of cogeneration as an essential element of the energy transition; this extends to its energy-supply strategy, and the state will continue to push ahead with the expansion of cogeneration. To analyse the potentials that exist in NRW, the state government, with the support of EnergieAgentur.NRW, commissioned a new study of CHP potential in NRW in an effort to promote CHP expansion in a targeted manner. (www.energieagentur.nrw/kwk)
Another element of the NRW energy supply strategy is the grid-bound heat supply. Alongside the construction of local district-heating networks, the Rhine-Ruhr District Heating Network (FWSRR) will be the largest district heating network in the EU. By linking the existing district heating networks for the Lower Rhine and Ruhr, the FWSRR makes a significant contribution to the CO2 and CHP targets of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to CHP, in future industrial waste heat will increasingly serve as a heat source for district heating networks in NRW. By commission of the state government, the LANUV analysed the nationwide potentials, presenting these in the Study of potentials for industrial waste heat in NRW. The study shows that consistent use of waste heat from industrial energy and production processes could replace up to 48 terawatt hours (TWh) of usable heat for heating and production processes each year.
The state government offers progres.nrw, a funding programme to expand efficient energy supply. Among other things, the programme promotes the construction, expansion and conversion of heating networks and investment in district heating grids. The programme also takes plants that decouple heat from industrial processes into account. In addition to this, the NRW.BANK offers a variety of low-interest loans with long maturities. This effort encourages investments to boost energy efficiency or resource efficiency. NRW.BANK also provides loans at favourable terms for the construction of district heating networks.
On behalf of the state government, EnergieAgentur.NRW assists with the expansion goals with its ‘CHP.NRW – Electricity meets heat’ campaign. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the technology and to promote its expansion. The ‘CHP.NRW – Electricity meets heat’ extends to a strong network of more than 150 partners from companies and research institutions, trade associations and interest groups. The campaign bundles and boosts activities in the field of CHP in NRW, taking all CHP technologies, power classes and fuels into account. With its Marktführer.KWK (market guide) the campaign has created a tool to facilitate access to the energy-efficient principle of CHP for the interested public. (www.kwk-für-nrw.de)
Mobility: All facets of electromobility powered by batteries and fuel cells, as well as alternative fuels such as CNG and LNG, are considered an important key technology for a climate-friendly system of energy and transport. Approx. 2,000 experts, largely SMEs on the user and manufacturer side, have joined forces in two EnergieAgentur.NRW networks – Fuel cell and hydrogen, electromobility and Fuels and drives of the future – to advance the topics of electromobility with batteries and fuel cells or low-emissions fuels. The work of the network focuses on the promotion of and initial consultations around current funding programmes, such as the NRW state programme for low-emissions mobility or progres.nrw – Innovation. (www.energieagentur.nrw/netzwerk/brennstoffzelle-wasserstoff-elektromobilitaet und www.energieagentur.nrw/mobilitaet/netzwerk-kraftstoffe)
Thus far, the state and the EU (European Regional Development Fund – ERDF) have furnished more than 170 million euros for more than 145 projects in fuel-cell and hydrogen technology. In the area of battery power, more than 65,000 applications for the state programme for low-emissions mobility have already been submitted for more than 10,000 cars and commercial vehicles, around 6,000 eCargo bicycles, some 64,000 charging stations and more than 140 so-called ‘implementation consultations’ for the conversion of vehicle fleets to electromobility applications. Assistance has also been provided for numerous projects in NRW, with federal funding via the National Centre for Charging Infrastructure, the Electromobility Funding Directive, the National Innovation Programme (NIP) or the European FCH JU programme within the framework of Horizon 2020.
The areas of project initiation and project support, as well as programme development as a service for network members and partners, thus continue to form a focus supported by the successful work of the expert groups on ‘Charging infrastructure’, ‘H2 for public transport’, ‘H2 municipalities’, ‘H2system’, and ‘Power-to-gas’ and ‘Climate-friendly city-centre logistics’, as well as by technical discussions, initial consultations (e.g. electromobility in businesses) and specialist events.
In addition, fuel activities for NRW are coordinated and/or supported within the framework of the CEP (Clean Energy Partnership for Hydrogen), H2Mobility, the Fuel Science Center, the EEN programme on ‘Energy-efficient heavy-duty vehicles’, the NRW project ‘LeanDeR - LNG’ at Duisburg Harbour, the INTERREG VA project ‘LNG PILOTS’ or the EU projects on ‘Clean Inland Shipping’ (CLINSH) as well as JIVE and JIVE 2 (88 fuel-cell buses in NRW). There are now more than 9,000 public charging stations, 165 CNG filling stations (67 with biomethane), 8 LNG filling stations, 20 H2filling stations for cars and four H2 bus stations in service in NRW.
There is also active support for the EU projects HECTOR for fuel-cell-powered garbage collectors and H2Share on fuel-cell-powered trucks, fuel-cell-powered railcar projects in NRW as well as the fuel-cell forklift project in Düsseldorf. Work was also carried out with NRW partners to develop the concept for multi-fuel hubs / green energy hubs (which bring a variety fuel and charging offers together in a single place). Added to this are a range of technical consultations and coordination with manufacturers, users, and infrastructure providers in the field of logistics (trucks and forklifts in particular), airports, waste collectors, shipping, and port logistics. Some freight forwarders in NRW are also converting their vehicle fleets to LNG, among them Havi-Logistics in Duisburg and Hövelmann Logistik in Rees. A particularly significant project is RH2INE, a cooperative project between the province of South Holland and the NRW Ministry of Economics, in which EnergieAgentur.NRW assists with project developments for the construction of fuel-cell-powered ships and hydrogen infrastructure in the ports. The initiative is currently being carried out in NRW by the three trade associations VCI/HDE and VVWL on the use of fuel-cell trucks. The competition among model municipalities for hydrogen-based of the NRW Ministry of Economics, which was won by Düssel.Rhein.Wupper, was assisted by EnergieAgentur.NRW, as was the application of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Center (ZBT) for the Technology and Innovation Center for Hydrogen (TIW Duisburg) by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI).
ElektroMobilität NRW (electromobility): All of the state’s electromobility activities of the country are combined under the aegis of ElektroMobilität.NRW, an umbrella brand of the NRW Ministry of Economics. There, EnergieAgentur.NRW and the Competence Centre for Electric Mobility NRW are working on behalf of the NRW Ministry of Economics towards a market ramp-up for electromobility in the state of NRW – funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Through joint events, websites and direct appeals to numerous associations, intermediaries and interested parties, a significant contribution was made towards the successful implementation of the NRW funding programmes.
Reductions in greenhouse gases through fuel use are currently achieved mainly through the use of biofuels mixed with fossil fuels. The producers of biodiesel, in Lünen, Neuss and Südlohn, among other locations, rank among the major manufacturers in Germany. Research and development projects by partners in North Rhine-Westphalia play an important role in developing synthetic (bio)fuels and new fuel components, such as the DFG-funded ‘Fuel Science Center’ Cluster of Excellence at RWTH Aachen University, or the ‘BioMates’, ‘Carbon2Chem’ or ‘C3 Mobility’ projects of the German Federal Government and the European Union. The aim is to store and use excess renewable energy in fuels with a high energy density (power-to-fuel).
Hydrogen also plays an increasingly important role as a storage medium for the future energy supply (keyword ‘power-to-gas’). The stored hydrogen can be reconverted highly efficiently using fuel cells, among other things, as input material in industry or as ‘domestic fuel’ in fuel-cell vehicles for emission-free mobility. This was also factored into the NRW Hydrogen Roadmap of the NRW Ministry of Economics, with ambitious targets for hydrogen mobility (e.g. 400 trucks, 500 buses, 10 fuel-cell-based inland-waterway vessels and 80 H2 filling stations by 2025).
Vehicles are available, and, aided by favourable framework conditions, the market ramp-up is clearly visible. Around 80% of the EEN programme on ‘Energy-efficient heavy-duty vehicles’ went to LNG trucks, with 17% to CNG trucks. There are now more than 60 fuel-cell buses now operating in NRW – making this Europe’s largest fleet, supported by successful networking. (www.energieagentur.nrw/mobilitaet and www.elektromobilitaet.nrw)
State network for energy efficiency in businesses: The ‘State network for energy efficiency in businesses’ supports and promotes business networking on the topic of energy efficiency and climate protection. The focus is on sharing insights and knowledge, together with the learning processes involved, at the regional level. In the enterprise networks, 8 to 15 companies set themselves shared, specific energy-efficiency targets. The state network acts as regional coordinator for the nationwide ‘Energy-efficiency networks initiative’ on the establishment of corporate networks. There are now a total of 54 energy-efficiency networks in operation in NRW under the initiative; all in all, there are more than 70 business networks of various formats in NRW.
Cooperation between the state network and the relevant trade groups (chambers of commerce and industry, chambers of skilled crafts) as well as trade and industry associations at the state level continued in 2019. (www.energieagentur.nrw/energieeffizienz/landesnetzwerk-unternehmen)
Grids and storage network: The Grids and storage network is responsible for questions relating to energy infrastructure and energy storage: Within the energy transformation, NRW is the no. 1 industrialised state and holds a key position for energy infrastructure. Newly built renewable-energy plants and storage facilities must be integrated regionally into the distribution network, with transport requirements in the grid coordinated nationally and internationally by the centrally located NRW. The Grids and storage network involves stakeholders from all sectors of society in these processes. This is mainly done in the Working Groups (AG) ‘AG 1: Transmission networks’, ‘AG 2: Distribution networks’, ‘AG 3: Storage’ and ‘AG 4: Gas infrastructure’ and their events.
In addition to the work of the working groups, the network supports companies with technical expertise and oversees innovation projects. Close interaction among businesses, science and public institutions will be fostered by networking enterprises and institutions along the value chain. The Grids and storage network also organises networking and storage conferences and workshops, bringing added value for its network partners – SMEs in particular. Specialist brochures, newsletters and the latest information can be found on the website. (www.energieagentur.nrw/netze)
SolarKataster NRW (solar roof map): Since November 2018, the photovoltaic potential for around eleven million roofs in North Rhine-Westphalia has been published in the “Energy Atlas NRW”. This map was expanded to include the open-space photovoltaic potential at the end of 2020. It is now possible to plan a photovoltaic system in areas funded under the Renewable Energy Act, and to estimate the cost-effectiveness of the potential yield. Overall, there is a potential for outdoor photovoltaics of more than 40 terawatt hours in NRW. Together with the roof areas, it could be possible to generate a total of nearly 110 terawatt hours of solar power in NRW. This could cover 90 percent of total net electricity consumed in NRW. Cities and municipalities also have the option of integrating the solar registry into their own website using a link tailored to the respective area. (www.energieatlas.nrw.de; www.solarkataster.nrw.de)
Solar power (photovoltaics): The use of solar energy is an important pillar in the energy mix of tomorrow and in the effort to bring the energy transformation about. Through December 2020, there were more than 2 million solar power systems installed throughout Germany, with a capacity of 54-gigawatt peak (GWp). With around 50 billion kilowatt hours of climate-friendly electricity, these accounted for around 9 percent of the power generated in Germany. This amount is mathematically sufficient to supply more than 14 million households with electrical energy for one year. The more than 300,000 systems installed in NRW had a capacity of around 6-gigawatt peak (GWp). (www.solarwirtschaft.de)
Solar heat (solar thermal energy): In total, there were more than 2.5 million solar thermal systems were installed in Germany at the end of 2020, with a collector area of more than 20 million square metres and a thermal output of 15 gigawatts (GW th). (www.solarwirtschaft.de)
Heat pumps: ‘The sun makes electricity; the pump makes heat’ – this is the current campaign of the NRW marketplace for heat pumps. Heat pumps save heating costs and protect the environment by using a large proportion of renewable environmental heat; these pumps can be combined with a photovoltaic system. Environmental heat, such as groundwater, geothermal energy, or the outside air, is provided free of charge by ‘Mother Nature’ and can be used anywhere. Another argument for many is that a heat pump can also be used to cool very inexpensively. That is why around 40 percent of new construction in Germany, but many existing structures as well, are now heated with heat pumps. To convince the citizens of NRW of the advantages of the heat pump, the NRW marketplace for heat pumps, together with the initiative Photovoltaik NRW, is conducting a campaign entitled ‘The sun makes electricity, the pump makes heat’ with an information tour through NRW. In addition to brochures and information on funding options, there are also experts from EnergieAgentur.NRW on site. There were some 120,000 new heat pumps installed in Germany in 2020, including 24,000 in NRW. Of the 1,086,000 heat pumps now installed in Germany, more than 217,000 (approx. 20 percent) are in service in NRW, generating environmentally friendly heat. (www.energieagentur.nrw/waermepumpen)
Continuing education, awareness, and motivation: As part of its knowledge-management effort, EnergieAgentur.NRW offers a wide range of different education and training formats for different target groups, along with different concepts for heightening awareness and motivating the public for energy-conscious behaviour, as classic in-person events and in 2020, increasingly as online events as well.
KlimaKidz (climate kids), a project for 5th- and 6th- grade classes in secondary schools, for instance, reported the participation of around 700 school pupils from NRW by year’s end; the lesson unit KlimaTeens (climate teens) featuring experiments for the 7th through 9th grades, also reached 700 young people. More than 1,500 participants attended seminars on a variety of energy topics, and some 70 day-care centres, have launched the process of certification as ‘KlimaKita.NRW’ (climate kindergarten).
With the aid of ‘mission E’, a multiple-award-winning concept by EnergieAgentur.NRW to promote long-term motivation among employees for energy-conscious behaviour, EnergieAgentur.NRW reached a total of nearly 370,000 people in 2020. (www.missionE.nrw).
EnergieAgentur.NRW; Roßstraße 92; 40476 Düsseldorf; Telephone: 0211 866420
Head of Communication:
Dr. Joachim Frielingsdorf
Telephone: 0202 2455219
42103 Wuppertal, Germany
Uwe H. Burghardt M. A.
Kommunikation, Pressesprecher Innovationen und Netzwerke
You can contact the EnergyAgency.NRW additionally on weekdays between 8am and 6pm by calling our hotline on: +49 211 - 8371930