Frontier analyses transformation paths towards a low carbon economy in Germany

Frontier analyses transformation paths towards a low carbon economy in Germany

Two Frontier studies have been published today by innogy SE, a subsidiary of the German energy company RWE. The studies analyse the current and future framework for decarbonising the German economy.

Germany has set itself ambitious climate protection targets, with the aim of cutting the emission of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) by 80 to 95% by 2050 compared with 1990. There are three key elements to achieving these goals: reducing overall energy consumption, increasing direct use of renewable energy (such as biomass or solar heating), and using renewable energy in other sectors such as transport and heating. Frontier’s studies explore issues in achieving this.

  • The first study focuses on pathways to a low carbon economy. It discusses a wide range of potential technologies and concepts which can be used to deploy renewable energy in the transport and heating sectors in the medium- and long-term. Since many technologies are still in an early stage of development and deployment, and given uncertainty around future inventions, the report recommends that politicians follow a flexible approach to support many kinds of innovation and ensure a level playing field for different technologies. The study points out how a narrower policy approach which defines a blueprint for the energy system in e.g. 2050 and pushes single technologies to achieve this state, would not allow for essential innovations. At the same time results suggest to maintain the existing energy infrastructure, such as gas networks, for potential future use with green gases, e.g. hydrogen from renewable sources as well as making use of the advantages of digitalisation and decentralisation.
  • The second study examines options to support a shorter-term ‘greening strategy’ for gas in Germany. Due to the existing regulatory framework, biogas is currently mainly used in small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plants in the German electricity sector. The increasing expansion of renewable power generation, however, suggests that in the future biogas could possibly be used more efficiently in sectors in which carbon neutrality is harder to achieve than in the electricity market. The study focuses on options to adjust the regulatory framework of biogas in order to increase the use of green gas, especially in the heating sector.

Frontier regularly advises on the decarbonisation of the energy sector and renewable energies.

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