Dutch/German grid operators TenneT, Gasunie Deutschland and Thyssengas on October 16, 2018  unveiled  plans for coupling the electricity and gas grids building  a power-to-gas pilot plant in Lower Saxony with an  output of 100 MW,  the largest to date in Germany. The plant mirrors the pilot plant that Gasunuie and TenneT are testing in the TSO2020 Synergy project on Groningen that saw the installation of a 1MW plant completed two weeks ago. Potential sites for the plant are located in the vicinity of the TenneT substations in Diele and Conneforde, that both collect and distribute offshore wind energy from the North Sea. The ‘ELEMENT ONE’ pilot project will give the companies first experiences with power-to-gas facilities on an industrial scale. Starting in 2022, the pilot plant will be connected to the grid gradually. By converting green energy into gas, it will develop new storage capacities for renewable energies. Gas that has been produced from green energy will be transported from the North Sea to the Ruhr region through existing pipelines, to  be made available eventually to the mobility sector through hydrogen (H2) filling stations and to industrial consumers through storage caverns.

Olaf Lies, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Energy for Lower Saxony, commented on the project, “It is an extremely important signal for Lower Saxony as an energy state. The expansion of offshore and onshore wind energy is advancing. But we cannot think of the energy transition in terms of electricity only. Sector coupling is a crucial aspect of it. I am delighted that important players of the energy transition are taking steps in that direction now. That is the right signal. Some industrial companies are already working on power-to-gas technologies. We need to implement industrial policies that specify standards for the relevant facilities. That is happening in this case. There is great potential for development, especially when it comes to coupling the electricity and gas grids. The use of green H2 for transport, heating and industrial purposes also offers enormous opportunities. We must not be led to focus on electricity only. A wider perspective will enable us to implement a variety of new technologies and have a diverse range of companies working in the field.”