Not all areas of society can be electrified at the drop of a hat – think of the process industry or aviation, for example. The provision of heat is also still based to a large extent on fossil fuels. In the all-electric society, the solution to this will be the coupling of sectors that currently often operate in their own separate domains. These sectors include the main areas of the energy economy – electricity, heat and transport – and the consumer groups of industry, commerce, trade and services, as well as private households. They all need to be interconnected so that renewable electrical energy can be universally used as the primary energy source.
In addition, coupling sectors in this way would provide for the necessary flexibility. At the end of the day, power generation using wind and solar energy is subject to considerable fluctuations over time and depending on the weather. It therefore makes sense to use excess electricity in times with considerable wind and sun for heat or transport, or to preserve it in storage units. Sector coupling will therefore form the foundation of the all-electric society.
A range of different technologies are available to serve as links between sectors, and none is more important than the power-to-X processes. This refers to all processes that convert green electricity into chemical energy carriers for power storage, electricity-based fuels for mobility or raw materials for the chemical industry. Electromobility is an excellent example of how sector coupling has already begun at the lowest level. The various sectors come together in individual buildings, or in cellular structures such as urban districts. This is where bridges can be built – for instance, by charging your EV with electricity from your household photovoltaic system.