April 11, 2017

Country Module Germany 2017: MSc Renewable Energy Systems visits Hamburg


From April 6th to 9th 2017 the MSc on Renewable Energy Systems travelled to Northern Germany. There, the classes of 2015 and 2016 participated in a seminar on renewable energy in Germany.

For more impressions, visit our Photo Gallery or this video!

During the first day the island of Pellworm, located in the North Sea, was visited by bus and ferry. This island has 1150 inhabitants and has become a renewable energy center for the state of Schleswig-Holstein. It is led by Mr. Wolf from e.on. The first photovoltaic greenfield-installation was set up on the island with a capacity of 300 kWpk in 1983 already (!). Now, the facility is owned by e.on and has been expanded to 750 kWpk and was equipped with large scale redox-flow and lithion-ion batteries. On the island there is also a 550kW biogas plants and six 3MW wind turbines. The whole idea was to use all forms of renewable energy available on the island and to couple it with chemical storages in order to maximize the self-consumption and degree of self-sustenance on the island. This was realized to a level of 97,5% self-sustenance. Now this island role-model will be applied in other parts of Schleswig-Holstein as well. The day on the island was completed with a guided tour of the island before heading back for the ferry to the mainland.

The second day was spent at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, where Professor Kaltschmidt invited us for a day of presentations on the renewable energy situation and recent developments in Germany. Professor Haas and Professor Ajanovic from TU-Wien also worked with the students on selected renewable energy topics in Germany and the students had to give short presentations of their own on selected topics related to renewable energy in Germany.

On the third day, the class visited the company “Global Renewable Ship Brokers (GRS)” in downtown Hamburg. Mr. Börner, one of the brokers at the firm welcomed us. GRS is the largest global shipbroker when it comes to offshore windenergy projects. They can provide any vessel any time and can provide turn-key off-shore wind projects. In the afternoon the group went to Cuxhaven where Germany’s offshore wind energy center is located. Mr. Schneider, responsible for business development at Rhenus-Cuxport held a presentation for us and went on the tour through the port with the group. This day was full of insights into the offshore wind-energy sector.

On the fourth and final day the class could still use the morning to visit the Vattenfall owned pump-storage facility in Geesthacht on the Elbe river, which is located on the Eastern city limits of Hamburg. The group was welcomed by the plant’s manager, Mrs. Tolmin. This pump storage plant is suited to help buffering the fluctuating energy generation from wind and photovoltaic power plants. This net stabilization service is still underrated in its importance even in Germany and is also more technologically and economically efficient compared to using large scale batteries for providing such services. The pump storage can also black start itself in the case of a blackout and it can be used to provide peak electricity at times needed. The power plant can go online within 1 ½ minutes only and can provide 144 MW electric over a period of up to five hours.

All in all this seminar on renewable energy was a perfect door opener to understanding the German renewable energy system.

Further information can be found on our website at http://newenergy.tuwien.ac.at.


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