Greenpeace Energy and Gasunie choose Suderburg (D) as a ‘windgas’ locationHamburg, Hannover, Groningen | press release
• ‘Building block in the Energiewende’
• Natural gas infrastructure assumes a new role as storage and transport medium for sustainable energy
Hamburg, Hannover, Groningen - Greenpeace Energy and Gasunie will set up their ‘Windgas’ production location in the municipality of Suderburg, approximately eighty kilometres south of Hamburg. ‘Due to its position and infrastructure, this location provides ideal conditions for the production of windgas’, says Dr. Steffen Welzmiller, director of the German energy company Greenpeace Energy. ‘Suderburg is to become an important building block in the Energiewende (energy transition).’
Greenpeace Energy and Gasunie are planning bring the installation and injection facilities into operation by the end of 2013. Gasunie’s subsidiary company, Gasunie Deutschland, which is responsible for operating a 3000 kilometre long gas transport network in North Germany, will be injecting hydrogen gas into its high-pressure network. ‘The combination of innovative products for the energy market with reliable technologies and efficient infrastructure offers solutions for the future. The infrastructure for natural gas has the potential for giving optimal support to the Energiewende,’ says Jens Schumann, director of Gasunie Deutschland. The term ‘Energiewende’ refers to the German government’s decision in June 2012 to abandon nuclear power and to move at an accelerated pace towards creating a sustainable energy supply.
Earlier this year, Greenpeace Energy and Gasunie agreed to make ‘windgas’ possible together. Using this innovative technology, Greenpeace Energy will turn sustainable wind energy into hydrogen gas, which can then be injected into Gasunie’s gas infrastructure in North Germany. Gas is easy to store for later use and is, moreover, the most economical form of energy transport. In this way, temporary surpluses of wind energy can be stored for later use. This will prevent overburdening electricity networks while the wind turbines can continue to turn. This combination between wind and gas will place the natural gas infrastructure in a new role: as an efficient and robust storage and transport medium for sustainable energy. For the supply of electricity generated from wind and solar power fluctuates hugely, depending on the weather conditions. Sometimes there is too much and sometimes too little. Windgas (also known as 'power-to-gas') provides an efficient solution to this, through the use of existing gas infrastructure. And vice versa: the gas system is available through gas power plants which can be quickly fired up to provide back-up when sustainable sources fail due to the weather conditions (‘gas-to-power’).