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Climate protection pioneer

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is setting the course for a climate-friendly, reliable and affordable power supply system. In colla­bo­ration with the energy industry, the state government has drawn up the Energy Supply Strategy for NRW.

For the energy and industry powerhouse that is North Rhine-Westphalia, the energy transition represents a radical transformation. Questions regarding the security of supply, expansion of the power grids and economic viability present huge chal­lenges. In order to successfully meet these challenges and strengthen North Rhine-Westphalia as a business and energy hub, the state government, in collaboration with the energy sector and industry, has drawn up the Energy Supply Strategy for NRW and published it in July 2019. This sets the course for a reliable, affordable and climate-friendly ­power supply system in NRW.

If the recommendations of the “Growth, Structural Change and Employment Commission” are implemented, electricity generation from local coal-fired power plants will be cut by up to 70 per cent by 2030 and CO2 emissions from coal-fired power ­generation will fall by up to 80 million tonnes per ­annum. This makes North Rhine-Westphalia a climate protection pioneer.

“We support the move on the part of the grid operators to take a closer look at integrating the power grids and gas networks in order to optimise the energy system as a whole.”


Minister of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
(Photo: MWIDE NRW/E. Lichtenscheidt)

Exploiting the potential of wind and sun

The path chosen in the battle to achieve carbon neutrality requires a sustainable energy supply for the electricity, heat and mobility sectors. Expanding renewables in a market-driven and generally accepted manner is therefore of crucial importance. In view of the potential here, the state government con­siders a doubling of onshore wind and photovoltaic generation capacities by 2030 to be possible.

However, this restructuring of the energy system must not be carried out at the expense of the security and reliability of the energy supply and the competitiveness of our industries. The issue of affordability must be taken into account with regard to both energy-intensive industries and consumers, with appropriate forms of financial relief, including reduction of the electricity tax.

We as the state government are working at the federal level to promote development of the methodology for assessing the security of supply. Furthermore, we need an investment mechanism for flexible backup power plants to ensure that sufficient ca­pacities are available in the medium term and that gas-fired power stations incorporated into the sce­narios of the Grid Development Plan Electricity also become a reality. The Energy Supply Strategy for NRW is based on local locational advantages: gas-fired power stations can be built at existing power plant sites as replacements for coal-fired power stations, meaning existing network nodes in the transmission grid can continue to be used. In the long term, these power stations can be converted to synthetic gas produced from renewable sources.

Approval procedures will be simplified

In addition to sufficient generation capacities, it is essential that capable networks are available to transmit and distribute the electricity generated. By establishing technical standards, the state government is simplifying approval procedures in order to accelerate the demand-oriented expansion of the electricity grids. The cross-sectoral planning of infrastructure is also gaining in importance as a result of sector coupling. We support the move on the part of the grid operators to take a closer look at integrating the power grids and gas networks in order to optimise the energy system as a whole.

Setting the course for green hydrogen

The course must also be set today for the next development steps, for example for the use of power-­to-X (PtX or P2X) technologies such as green hydrogen. Since PtX applications will also have a massive influence on future transport requirements in the transmission grid, these must be taken into account from an early stage when updating requirements planning. At the same time, the political framework conditions must be set in such a way that market penetration by PtX is efficient and synchronised with the development of the grid infrastructure.

In our efforts to restructure the energy system, we are focusing on securing the power supply for a modern, green and prosperous North Rhine-Westphalia and we will build on the successful dialogue and collaboration around work on our Energy Supply Strategy.

Energy and industry powerhouse NRW

North Rhine-Westphalia was once the heart of Germany’s coal and steel industries. In future, the country’s most populous state will be focusing more on renewable energy sources. At the same time, the domestic economy is to remain competitive.



in NRW work in energy-intensive ­sectors, such as the primary industry. Their jobs depend on a secure and ­affordable energy supply. The compet­i­tiveness of energy-intensive industries must be ensured.



of power are to be provided by wind and solar installations in NRW by 2030. This corresponds to a doubling compared to 2018. An installed capacity of 25 GW is planned for 2035.






– that’s the total length of the power grids in NRW. This includes a 10,000-kilometre-long transmission grid. The gas networks measure some 86,000 kilometres in length. This en­ergy infrastructure has to be restructured and expanded. This expansion needs to span both energy systems.


million inhabitants

live in the Rhine-Ruhr region, one of the most densely populated metropolitan regions in ­Europe. In cities, the challenges associated with the energy transition are focused on a very ­localised area. NRW is searching for new urban energy solutions.

Source: Energy Supply Strategy of NRW