Developing a Reality Lab

WindNODE successfully made use of the new “reality lab” R&D format in northeastern Germany for the first time. In particular, this included the implementation and use of the regulatory experimentation clause SINTEG-V, which was intended to allow SINTEG partners to test out new operating and business models without incurring economic losses due to the current regulatory regime. However, WindNODE is also committed to an ecosystem approach to energy research (large, agile partner networks spanning the value chain), to new participation formats (e.g. visitor sites) and to the development of a positive, opportunity- focused energy transition narrative.

Establishing standards for the smart energy system made in Germany

The efficient system integration of large volumes of renewable energy is the guiding principle of WindNODE. But what exactly is an ‘efficient energy system’? We need a measuring system to analyse, assess and compare the overall system efficiency. We furthermore have to ensure that the efficient energy system uses one ‘language’ at the technical level, so that the required protocols and standards are in place, e.g. in the field of data exchange.  Another aspect is to obtain the power of interpretation for the next phase of the ‘energy transition made in Germany’.

  • Definition and measurement of the overall system efficiency: an efficiency measuring system is developed that covers the technical, ecological and social aspects. This results in a differentiated concept for overall system efficiency, which is used to measure the project progress at WindNODE on the one hand and on the other hand can be developed further as a diagnostic instrument for the analysis of other energy systems.
  • Overview on standardisation: we are carrying out a needs analysis for the standardisation requirements in the scope of the ‘smart energy system’, ensure the participation in relevant national and international organisations and if necessary initiate specific standardisation initiatives.
  • Cooperation in VHPready: with VHPready, WindNODE is committed to a concrete standardisation initiative aiming at the standardised networking of decentralised energy installations.

Technology leadership: seizing opportunities for position and exports

Discussions about the energy transition still mostly focus on problems. In reality, however, the technology leadership in the ‘smart energy system’ holds great opportunities for the WindNODE region through the development of high-quality jobs, through the networking of the relevant players in the six participating federal states and through the export potential for the technology providers.

  • Networking in the region: WindNODE considers itself a platform and think tank, not only for the participating partners, but also for other external players and initiatives. We offer active networking in the scope of our consortium meetings, which are held in all participating federal states in turn, as well as through our regular expert workshops and dialogues.
  • Supporting the transformation process: "We know energy and transition" – WindNODE not only has the energy technology expertise, but is also at home in a region that has experience with major transformation processes. We want to use this environment to demonstrate how the transformation of the energy system can be organised through case studies (e.g. together with the initiative ‘My Energy for My City’).
  • Cooperation with the federal states: we work closely together with the six participating federal states to ensure the inclusion of their energy and climate policy objectives. Together, we want to work on such subjects as grid development and sector coupling, the coupling of smart energy and smart city, job creation, cross-state energy industry networking as well as communication and participation concepts.
  • Visibility and partnerships abroad: WindNODE should contribute to the development of export opportunities for the ‘smart energy system made in Germany’. To this end, WindNODE seizes opportunities for international presence and builds on existing partnerships.

Showcase: make the energy transition tangible and invite participation

For the longest time, the energy industry's mission was to achieve the best possible balance of security of supply, economic efficiency and environmental protection. Society itself remained a blind spot in that energy policy triad. Only in the more recent debate about the energy transition has acceptance become established as a fourth target dimension. The good news is that the German energy transition enjoys high acceptance. But could it also go beyond acceptance, as Minister Peter Altmaier put it 2012 – a project that “fascinates and engages” the public like the American moon landing did in 1969? Such fascination does exist among experts. It is a driving force for over four hundred colleagues who are actively working on WindNODE. But for many people, “electricity comes out of the socket” and energy, especially electrical energy, is an abstract and uninteresting subject. The energy transition is founded on arguments in favour of environmental and climate protection but is rarely motivated with opportunities.

  • The visitor sites: WindNODE develops model solutions and makes them visible to industry experts, policymakers and the interested public. At the same time, we want to encourage dialogue, form networks and promote a positive view of the German energy transition. We have therefore developed the concept of visitor sites to bring the concept of a “showcase” to life. The term “visitor site” is meant literally: these are real, physical locations that can be visited by interested people. Visitors can learn about the different facets of WindNODE, get a glimpse of work in progress and have access to projects results in an easy-to-understand way.
  • A dialogue with the arts and the cultural sphere: alongside technical, economic and legal aspects of the energy transition, we also look at how a change of perspective on energy might happen. Technology leadership, valuable and future-proof jobs, clean cities and decentralized participation in value creation, fascination through technology -- all this and more is part of the energy transition. We use artistic means to make visions of the future energy system visible. We learn from literature how the narrative around energy has developed over the centuries. We want to quicken everyone's appetite for energy and the energy transition and show its esthetic merits.
  • Participation and interaction: WindNODE is an invitation to participate. People should be inspired by the energy transition, discover their own role in it and bring fresh ideas for the energy system of the future to the table. The "WindNODE Challenge" asks for new solutions to open questions surrounding the energy transition. Through our Energyhacks we collaborate with young developers in order to find new strategies for a reliable energy supply and the digital future.

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