System integration

ENavi Kopernikus project

How must electricity, gas and heat interact to keep households and industry supplied?

The transformation of the energy supply impacts on a whole range of interlinked and interdependent systems: the entire technological system, the organisational, political and social structures as well as the behaviour of companies, consumers and citizens. The energy system as a whole will only function as and when intended if the various components are successfully integrated. It is accordingly necessary to look at interdependencies and interfaces in addition to the issues related to the discipline itself. The energy system with its electricity, heat and mobility sectors is a complex interlinked and dynamic system.

„System integration now has to be researched on quite different premises than before. Not only through scientific analyses, but also paying attention to political and social requirements. Preparedness for the Energiewende cannot be imposed, it must be thought about and we must research its acceptance.“ Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka on 13 October 2016 in Jülich

Selected research topics:

  • Development of system-analytically consistent designs for optimisation of the socio-technical energy system taking into account the overarching objectives, security of supply, economic efficiency, environmental and climate-friendliness, and testing under real-world conditions (model regions)
  • Development of new concepts for organisational forms, market and market regulations, participation processes and interventions to influence individual behaviour
  • Consideration of current state of, and outlook for, network expansion, storage capacities, the demand side and generation (central and decentralised) together with the interactions between these dimensions
  • Analysis of the potential and challenges for sectors and regions arising out of the transformation process
  • Development of concepts for shaping a dynamic interlinking of the market and state regulation; solutions to be evaluated on an ongoing basis and modified in accordance with the institutional learning curve
  • Development of steering systems (information, incentive systems, structural changes, statutory provisions) for the transformation and networking of the energy supply
  • Resolving conflicts of interest: Involving actors from politics, the economy, science and civil society in the steering processes
  • Monitoring from a legal standpoint for regulation, legality and legitimacy of the implementation of a navigation system so as to shape the Energiewende on a sound legal basis

The ENavi consortium

The “System integration” Kopernikus project: Energiewende navigation system (ENavi)

With the Energiewende Germany has set itself the aim of transforming the current energy system into a broadly CO2-free system based on renewable energies. An economical, environmentally sound, reliable and socially acceptable energy system requires a holistic approach at the system level. ENavi therefore sees the Energiewende as a society-wide transformation process and links scientific analyses with politico-social requirements.

What is the objective of the Kopernikus project?

The ENavi project aims to:

  • gain a deeper understanding of the complex networked energy system both in the energy sector and associated sectors such as industry and consumption,
  • demonstrate options for systemically integrating the components of future energy system taking into account energy policy objectives and legal and other framework conditions and constraints,
  • assess as accurately as possible what impacts a given measure would have on the energy system in the short, medium and long term, and finally
  • generate options for effective measures through transdisciplinary discourse.

One of the key products of the project is a navigation tool with which the researchers can assess in advance the effects and side-effects of economic or political measures. This should help answer the decisive questions: How can we ensure that the Energiewende is not too much of a burden for low-income groups in Germany? What measures can effectively and efficiently promote electro-mobility in Germany? Or: How can several thousand suppliers putting solar electricity on private roofs be sensibly coordinated?

The analysis of measures across various model regions additionally supports a better understanding of the success factors for the transformation of the energy system.

What makes the consortium so attractive?

The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) is an internationally recognised research establishment focussing on the fields of transformation and sustainability. Under its leadership, over 80 highly-qualified cooperation partners from relevant areas of activity in science, industry and civil society are working together to make a significant contribution to the success of the Energiewende through socio-economic research (see partner list below “Who is taking part in ENavi?”)

Contribution to the energy system

The project is intended to contribute to driving the Energiewende forward sustainably and with the greatest possible acceptance. The potential findings on sustainable transformation pathways are of great strategic interest for assessment of the market potential of various technologies. To gain a holistic view an assessment is being made of, in particular, the current state of and outlook for network expansion, storage capacities, the demand side and (central and decentralised) generation, together with the interactions between these dimensions. The project is in addition also supplying concrete technical concepts in the area of, for example, energy-related communication infrastructure (ICT), and legal analyses. The Energiewende opportunities relate to both technical system solutions and the development of possible new business models and services.

One organisational task of the ENavi Kopernikus project consists of combining the expertise from the various fields of science, the economy and civil society. The launch of the project is also linked to a process that gathers specific issues from the various actors and integrates them into the research work. The results and objectives of other Kopernikus research topics play a special role here, with elements from other project ideas being brought in.

Contact person:

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)
Contact person: Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn


Other partners

Associate Partners

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