Energy System

Ambitious climate protection targets need molecules

The energy transition is a generational project aimed at an energy system that is neutral in terms of greenhouse gases. By 2030, 65 percent CO2 savings are to be achieved compared to 1990. In 2045, Germany is to be climate neutral, and from 2050 emissions are to become negative. In 2020, this figure was around 40 percent. The restructuring of the German (energy) economy must therefore take place much faster than before. In addition to the expansion of generation capacities for renewable energies, it is necessary to convert and expand existing energy infrastructure as well as the appliances at the end consumer. Rapid and sustainable CO2 reductions can only be achieved in an economically efficient manner through a mix of technologies and green energy in the form of both electrons and molecules.

For the acceptance of the energy transition and for Germany as a business location, it is important that the transformation of the energy system succeeds without serious structural disruptions. The gas infrastructure can make a decisive contribution to this, as it can be used equally for all gaseous energy sources. Certain industries (e.g. steel, refinery, chemical) urgently need gaseous energy carriers (such as hydrogen) to decarbonise their processes. In the heat market, where molecules currently account for around 70 percent of the energy consumed, the continued use of gaseous energy sources is a prerequisite for a cost-effective and secure energy supply. Natural gas is gradually being replaced as an energy carrier by green gases such as hydrogen, biomethane, or synthetic methane. Thereby, all connected consumers can be supplied in a climate-neutral way.

Gas infrastructure guarantees flexibility, storage, and transport for renewable energies

Today, the gas network transports almost twice as much energy as the electricity grid. In addition, it has been conceived as a transit and import network. Due to the high total transport capacity, energy transport in the gas grid is more cost-efficient than via the electricity grid.

The gas grid also offers important prerequisites for the success of the energy transition with regard to energy storage. It is imperative that electricity from wind power and photovoltaic plants can be stored temporarily so that Germany’s potential for renewable electricity generation can be exploited. On the electricity side, no significant long-term storage potentials are to be expected in the long term. With the help of the gas infrastructure, on the other hand, the energy for a significant part of Germany’s annual electricity demand can be stored long-term in the German gas storage facilities alone and made available again flexibly and at any location when needed. This reduces the necessity to lower production, avoids unnecessary downtime costs, and creates flexibility for the electricity grid.

With the tightening of climate protection targets and the associated expansion targets for renewable electricity, the situation in electricity transmission is becoming even more tense due to the delays in grid expansion. Transporting the renewably generated electricity as hydrogen via a hydrogen infrastructure is therefore a cost-efficient and necessary addition. A medium-sized hydrogen pipeline is equivalent to about four HVDC lines. This enables faster expansion and wider use of renewable energies. The gas infrastructure can serve the permanent energy needs of industry throughout Germany and independent of location, relieve the electricity system of the seasonal winter peaks in the heat market and at the same time supply gas-fired power plants and CHP plants in order to ensure the security of supply throughout, e.g. during dark doldrums.

Building a hydrogen infrastructure as the backbone of a hydrogen economy

The climate protection targets cannot be achieved solely through renewable electricity in end-use applications. For this reason, the National Hydrogen Strategy presented measures to promote the development of a hydrogen economy. This includes both the expansion of capacities of large-scale power-to-gas plants for the production of hydrogen from renewable electricity as well as the import of hydrogen from third countries and the development of a hydrogen infrastructure. The supraregional connection of numerous domestic and foreign hydrogen production sites with the industrial centers of consumption on the one hand, but also the provision of hydrogen in the countryside, on the other hand, creates the conditions for a secure hydrogen supply in Germany.

The TSOs can develop the hydrogen infrastructure required for this as the backbone of a competitive hydrogen economy largely through conversions from the current natural gas grid in an economically efficient manner. The prerequisite is a reliable regulatory framework that considers the hydrogen network and the natural gas network as a single entity in terms of regulation, finance and network planning. Such a consistent regulatory framework is suitable to ensure the successive, demand-oriented, and efficient conversion of the existing gas infrastructure.


Impulspapier für ein sicheres Energiesystem
PDF / 430 kB / DE
Impulse Paper for a Secure Energy System and Efficient Climate Protection
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Impulspapier Grüne Gase
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Impulspapier Wärmemarkt
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Impulspapier Gasinfrastruktur
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Impulspapier Regulierungsrahmen
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Impulspapier Integrierte Netzplanung
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