· cameraman Rainer Friedrich image videos, TV-reports, documentaries

Director:Marcel Kolvenbach
Camera:Rainer Friedrich, F.A. Uscátegui
Sound:Wolfram Burgtorf
Editing:Maria Linden, Lars Ittershagen
Production Company:Public Nomad
First Broadcasted:February 21, 2021

“With Energy Transition into Blackout?” (Mit der Energiewende in den Blackout?)

Wissen, MDR, 45 minutes

The phase-out of coal is a done deal. The large power plants will be taken off the grid step by step in the coming decades and replaced by solar and wind power. But this is precisely what could endanger the stability of the electricity supply. In the worst case, there is the threat of a blackout.

In the coming decades, the large power plants will gradually be taken off the grid and replaced by solar and wind power. But this is precisely what could endanger the stability of the electricity supply. In the worst case, a blackout is imminent. „We cannot determine when the sun will shine and when the wind will blow, but exactly as much electricity must always be produced as is consumed, explains Dr Konstantin Wiegandt, physicist and head of algorithmic electricity trading at Europe’s largest renewable energy provider.

The film presents current lighthouse projects of the energy transition, from the largest solar and battery park to the future hydrogen storage facility. We accompany experts and researchers in their race against time. „Security of supply must not be played off against the energy transition. Our task is to develop technologies that meet both criteria.“ Prof. Joachim Seifert is researching decentralised solutions for the energy transition in the Combined Energy Lab at TU Dresden.

The so-called cellular approach is intended to generate renewable electricity and heat locally. In Lusatia, for example, because the Schwarze Pumpe power plant will also eliminate district heating for tens of thousands of households here in 2038. Hoyerswerda wants to become a pioneer for the whole of Germany with innovative solutions, and the energy transition is already creating new jobs and innovative technologies for the region here.

The film provides an exclusive and unusual insight into the state of the transformation of the energy supply: from the storage facilities that are to stabilise the power grid to virtual power plants to the algorithms that are in the smallest unit and trade their electricity on the stock exchange.

It becomes clear that in addition to electricity and heat, there must be a solution to bind the surplus energy from sun and wind and store it in the long term. All signs point to hydrogen, we learn, but the energy industry does not have much time to implement this on a large scale.

Author Marcel Kolvenbach is an investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. He spent several years investigating the attack on the power grid by hackers. During the research, it became clear that the energy transition can destabilise the power grid, but that a decentralised, cellular grid could also offer new stability and security – against hacker attacks and power outages.