Photovoltaikanlage zu Pilotausschreibung für Photovoltaik-Freiflächenanlagen; Quelle: BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

© BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

The regulatory sandbox ‘JenErgieReal’ is demonstrating new solutions for holistic and sustainable electricity and heat supply in urban areas. Intelligent networking of the different players in a metropolitan energy system enables flexible load management that serves the needs of the grid. In a formal ceremony held on 4 November 2022, Mr Christian Maaß, Director-General for Energy Policy, Heat, Hydrogen and Efficiency at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, handed over the grant, which marks the official launch of this regulatory sandbox for the energy transition.

Prior to the event, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Mr Stefan Wenzel,said: “The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is awarding funding to JenErgieReal, a regulatory sandbox in eastern Germany, that aims to demonstrate how the transformation of urban energy systems and sustainable supply of cities with electricity and heat can successfully be achieved.

By using smart sector coupling, Jena will become a blueprint for urban energy systems throughout Germany. The regulatory sandboxes for the energy transition are making a crucial contribution to the technological implementation of the energy transition and are helping to bring promising ideas to market maturity. Regulatory sandboxes like the one in Jena are paving the way for major industrial investments in sustainable technologies.”

As part of JenErgieReal, large-scale electrical storage systems as well as photovoltaic and solar thermal systems are strategically distributed across Jena and connected via a virtual platform. The sites represent different sectors of the city’s energy system. Neighbourhood storage systems and storage systems that stabilise the grid are combined with charging stations or CHP plants, while electric vehicles are integrated into the system as short-term, mobile energy storage systems and a commercial storage system is used for fast charging. The heat losses that occur during the fast-charging process are harnessed and made available in a decentralised heating system. In addition to the technical aspects of JenErgieReal, the regulatory sandbox will also identify potential for improvement regarding the energy policy environment and consider the societal and social aspects of sustainable, integrated urban development.

In total, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action will provide around €20.56 million worth of funding to the implementing partners of JenErgieReal, i.e. Stadtwerke Jena Netze GmbH, Stadtwerke Energie Jena Pößneck, jenawohnen GmbH, Metrona Union GmbH, the city of Jena, AWO Regionalverband Mitte-West-Thüringen e.V., Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena (University of Applied Sciences Jena) and Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau (WHZ – University of Applied Sciences Zwickau).

Regulatory sandboxes allow for innovation projects to be implemented at an industrial scale to accelerate the transfer of new technologies and processes for the energy transition into practice. The regulatory sandboxes for the energy transition are part of the Federal Government’s 7th Energy Research programme which aims to support businesses and scientists in the development of forward-looking energy technologies.