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FCN in the Kopernikus project “ENSURE − New Network Structures for the Energiewende"

FCN is actively involved in the project “New Network Structures for the Energiewende” (Neue EnergieNetzStruktURen für die Energiewende, ENSURE) that is part of the Kopernikus Research Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)[1]. The project’s interdisciplinary consortium is comprised of 23 established partners from the worlds of science, industry and civil society represented by professionals from the relevant areas of research and application. Among these partners are research institutions, energy suppliers, grid operators, technology companies, automation engineers, and non-governmental organizations. Six core partners − Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as the overall coordinator and ABB, E.ON, RWTH Aachen University, Siemens and TenneT as further partners − have taken on the leadership of the project.

The main aim of the ENSURE project is to arrange the Energiewende in an economically and technically viable as well as socially acceptable manner. To adapt the electricity supply system to the changes accompanying the Energiewende, a rational structure comprising both centralized and decentralized supply needs to be elaborated. The future energy system has to be optimized in such a way that unprofitable investments are avoided and the targeted expansion of existing grid infrastructure enabled. The aim is to reduce costs for both operators and end customers as well as to achieve ecological benefits through increased system efficiency.

The ENSURE project covers there key topics: researching new system structures, developing stable system management mechanisms, and the integration of new technologies into the energy supply system. A further focal point is the subsequent implementation and testing of the integrated energy supply system in the form of an industrial-scale network demonstrator. All research activities integrate a comprehensive analysis of socio-economic influences/factors while involving stakeholders, including prosumers (producer-consumers), into the research processes.

The ENSURE project is a three-phase project with a total duration of 10 years. In line with the first project phase (9/2016-8/2019), the work activities are structured into five clusters:

Cluster 1 - Socio-Economic Boundary Conditions

Cluster 2 - System Structures

Cluster 3 - System Operation

Cluster 4 - New Technologies

Cluster 5 - Design of the Network Demonstrator

FCN/RWTH Aachen is involved in Clusters 1 to 4 and takes the lead in some of work packages. In collaboration with other partners, FCN focuses on shaping and evaluating storylines for the future Energiewende in the first cluster. Furthermore, FCN applies the Institute's own energy model HECTOR for plausibility checks of the results produced by scenarios modeling. In Cluster 2, FCN is involved in the (re-)design of the electricity market and elaborates business models for the energy supplier of the future (“Energy Supplier 2.0”). Besides working on acceptance factors, FCN also focuses on the financing issues introduced by the envisaged grid expansion measures and conducts a macroeconomic evaluation of the new network structure. In Cluster 3, FCN focuses mainly on the resilience of decentralized grid structures. In Cluster 4, FCN in cooperation with other partners performs a socio-economic/ecological evaluation of the selected new (grid) technologies.


  • Galvin R. (2018). ‘Them and us’: Regional-national power-plays in the German energy transformation: A case study in Lower Franconia. Energy Policy 113, 269–277.
  • Galvin R. (2018). Trouble at the End of the Line: Local Activism and Social Acceptance in Low-Carbon Electricity Transmission in Lower Franconia, Germany. Energy Research & Social Science 38(April), 114–126.
  • Specht J.M., Madlener R. (2018). Business Models for Energy Suppliers Aggregating Flexible Distributed Assets and Policy Issues Raised, FCN Working Paper No. 7/2018, Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior, RWTH Aachen University, April.

[1] The promotional reference of the ENSURE project is 03SFK1CO.