Germany slates $210 million for sustainable power grid research


In an effort to meet its ambitious goal of an 80% renewables share in the nation’s electricity demand by 2050, the German government launched a €157 million ($210 million) power grid funding initiative in August.

Some 300 academic and research centers and 400 companies signed up to take part in the program, which was jointly launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The ministries have selected a total of 83 wide-ranging projects for funding. More than 90 higher education and research institutions and more than 90 companies, including 40 small and medium-sized enterprises are taking part in the funding program.

The Jülich Research Center (Forschungszentrum Jülich), a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and one of the largest interdisciplinary research centers in Europe, is overseeing the project.

A Jülich Research Center spokesman told pv magazine that the first projects got an early start in July but declined to provide further information on what they were or which academic institutes or companies were involved, adding only that the projects would soon be revealed.

According to the ministries, it will only be possible to meet the country’s ambitious 2050 target by developing and upgrading the nation’s power grid.

Pointing to the challenge posed by the volatile conditions in the supply of energy from wind and solar, the ministries said an information and communication technology network could maintain the balance between production and consumption at any time. "Optimized transmission and distribution technology, smart grids, new concepts for network planning and management as well as an innovative load management can all contribute to a solution," they added in a joint statement.