A wind farm can be built in about two years and a solar array installed in a matter of days. Developing the electricity grid takes decades. At the same time, grid expansion is a crucial factor in ensuring a secure supply of electricity that is generated increasingly by renewables.
A lot more than just new wind turbines and solar panels is needed for the energy transition to succeed. In particular, the electricity network has to be adjusted to the new situation, and the volatility of electricity generation from renewables is just one of the challenges involved. Changes in consumption patterns are another issue. An article by Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) explains just how complicated this transformation is.
Science journalist Tim Schröder describes how electricity consumption will change if electricity is not only used for household appliances, lighting and IT technology, but also for cars and heating in the future. He lays out the challenges facing science and industry when it comes to maintaining a steady supply of energy without interruptions. Schröder discusses a number of possible solutions, such as energy storage, software, synthetic fuels and new kinds of transmission cables. And he also describes the administrative problems that are delaying expansion of the grid.
The article entitled ‘High voltage’ by Tim Schröder is strongly recommended by en:former, but it is not part of the newspaper’s free content. You can find additional articles on this subject on this page in the section ‘Related content’.
Photo credits: Wang An Qi, shutterstock.com