The current situation: consumption and generation in Germany’s north highly imbalanced

The port city of Hamburg is a densely populated metropolitan region characterised by heavy industry. The city’s electricity consumption is correspondingly high. In contrast, Schleswig-Holstein is an important centre for wind energy production and is exporting ever greater volumes of electricity. This means that the centres of production and consumption are geographically distant from one another, i.e. are not equally distributed within the model region. The NEW 4.0 project aims to correct this imbalance by networking producers and consumers in a flexible manner using smart technology. This means ensuring that the grid is consistently kept at a frequency of 50 Hertz and that only as much electricity is fed into the grid as is consumed.

The solution: adapt consumption to supply

The NEW 4.0 project is now developing and testing a smart energy network that links all of the actors and components involved in generation, storage, transport and consumption, i.e. all components of the connected to the power grid. NEW 4.0 is testing a new approach: dynamically adapting the consumption of electricity to supply. To achieve this goal, NEW 4.0 is pursuing a two-pronged approach: NEW 4.0 will

  • improve the ability to export electricity to other regions: This will enable electricity to be transported to where it can be consumed or stored – for example to Hamburg, Lower Saxony or southern Germany
  • increase regional use of renewables-based electricity: The industrial companies involved in the NEW 4.0 project will play an important role in this. As large-scale consumers, they are to make their manufacturing processes more flexible so that they can gear production to the current supply of energy available at a given time. The project is also testing how electricity that cannot be transported and taken off the grid due to bottlenecks can be stored or converted into other forms of energy such as heat or gas (hydrogen). In this way, the transformation of the electricity supply is becoming an energy transition that involves all different areas of life.

The NEW 4.0 project is also testing new market models and working to develop regulatory solutions related to these. The aim is to create new market opportunities for companies and to secure their long-term competitiveness. Strengthening the regional economy coupled with the emergence of new industrial value-added chains also secures jobs in the model region and creates new ones too.