Real laboratories of the energy transition show what is possible

Climate neutrality in Germany by 2045 – this is the target set by the German government in 2021 with the new Climate Protection Act. The city of Jena aims to achieve this goal as early as 2035. With the JenErgieReal energy transition real laboratory, Jena is now demonstrating new solutions for sustainable electricity and heat supply. JenErgieReal is one of the real laboratories of the energy transition that Project Management Jülich (PtJ) is managing for the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) as part of the 7th Energy Research Program. PtJ supports the BMWK in accelerating the practical transfer of innovative technologies and processes for the energy transition and the restructuring of the German energy system.

In November, the official starting signal was given for JenErgieReal: With the handover of the grant, this real laboratory of the energy transition has now officially started. Thus, another innovation project is now testing the application under real conditions and on an industrial scale. Since 2020, eleven energy transition real laboratories have been active across Germany, focusing on energy storage, energy-optimized neighborhoods, and sector coupling and hydrogen technologies.

From the idea to use and market launch
In the funding format supported by PtJ, research teams work on questions of how innovations can be successfully established in the market in the future: Do the theoretical approaches work as planned in practice? What optimization steps do newly developed technologies still have to go through before they are ready for the market? The energy transition reallabs thus function as a strategic element for accelerating the transfer of technology and innovation and as a link between application-oriented research and broad implementation in practice.

Virtual power plant in Jena
In the future, the energy transition real laboratory in Jena will test how the various players in the energy system – generators, consumers, storage facilities – can be intelligently interconnected, thus enabling flexible control of load distribution in the grid. For this purpose, large-scale electrical storage systems as well as photovoltaic and solar thermal systems are to be built and distributed over the urban area of Jena by 2027. New and old players will then be networked via a digital infrastructure and connected to form a virtual power plant. In its holistic approach and practical relevance, JenErgieReal shows the possibilities of a sustainable transformation of urban spaces and could thus make Jena a pioneer for the transformation of energy supply in cities. Project Management Jülich is supporting this development on behalf of the BMWK.

About Project Management Jülich (PtJ)
As one of the largest project management organizations in Germany, PtJ is a partner for science, industry and politics. With its expertise in research and innovation management, it supports its clients in the federal and state governments as well as the European Commission in achieving their research policy objectives. He advises those interested in funding and applicants on current funding initiatives and supports them in the preparation and implementation of their projects.

In addition to project funding, PtJ is involved in strategic foresight and innovation support, especially in technical communication as well as accompanying monitoring and evaluation processes. In this way, PtJ takes into account the demands of its clients to communicate the results of research and innovation funding to society and to always keep an eye on the achievement of the programs’ goals.