Kamilla Thingvad, Director, Energy Production, Development and Trade, Green Power Denmark.
? How important is sector coupling to achieve our climate goals?
! Sector coupling is a key piece to be able to accommodate the large amounts of wind and solar that are needed for this green transition. Without sector coupling, it will be difficult to achieve our climate goals.
Historically, we have had a silo approach in our expansion and approach to the various supply and consumption sectors. But green power will be the cornerstone of the energy system of the future, and here the coupling of the sectors is crucial if we are to optimize energy flows. For example, we need to electrify large parts of the consumption sectors to replace our fossil energy consumption – both in the residential heating, industry, and transport sectors. We must exploit the flexibility for the energy system that electrification enables, e.g., the flexibility created by an electrified district heating sector. At the same time, we must utilize surplus energy – e.g., surplus heat across sectors. All elements that can first and foremost make green transition cheap, but also in some cases are crucial for us to succeed and achieve the climate goals.
? Where is there the greatest need to inject innovation into sector coupling, and which project do you expect the most from?
! Energy storage will be a key technology in the future energy system, so innovation in storage technologies will be crucial for integrating the large amounts of renewable energy needed. In this context, storage must be understood broadly. It can be about storing energy for both shorter and longer periods of time – from a few hours, over days and weeks to many months. The solutions are both traditional storage in the form of batteries and heat stores, and it can be technologies such as Power-to-X, where you convert green power into green fuels that can be stored and stored. Or it can be stone storages, where the current is converted into heat, which, in turn, can be converted into electricity or used directly. Although several of the technologies are known, there is still a need for development and innovation. Partly to get them up in scale and down in price, but also to look at new uses and combinations.
! We know how, on paper, we do sector coupling, and the technology is also available. The hard part is getting that to happen in practice and getting legislation and authorities to enable technologies and sectors to work together in new ways. In Denmark, we are far ahead and I expect that our solutions and approach will also be able to inspire abroad and be an export product in line with wind energy today.
? Why are your members cracking the sector coupling code?
! The members of Green Power Denmark represent several links in the value chain and therefore play a key role in sector coupling. Together with the authorities, we are helping to realise new innovative solutions. Thus, it is our member companies’ business and technological knowledge that is brought into play and that makes sector coupling succeed.
? Do your members see interconnected energy systems based on renewable energy as a growth potential, and what do you think?
! The establishment of large amounts of renewable energy, direct and indirect electrification and sector coupling of society is the key to a CO2-neutral Denmark and Europe. It will require large investments to reach the goal of electrification, and there is therefore a huge market potential both nationally and internationally. Denmark has come a long way, and we have the best conditions to show the rest of the world that we can establish a fully electrified society. There can only be growth potential in this.