Transitioning to Clean Energy: The Blueprint for a Zero Carbon Future 

June 29, 2023

Chicago skyline at night image
By Alan Greenshields, Director of Europe

ESS recently participated in the Smarter E Europe conference in Munich, Germany, where energy industry leaders and innovators from around the world gathered to discuss the future of renewable energy. Top of mind for attendees was the urgent need to ensure energy security while accelerating the transition to clean power. On this theme, we were pleased to announce a partnership with LEAG, a major German coal generator, to create the largest clean energy hub in Europe and enable the retirement of aging coal mining and generation operations.  

A Blueprint for the Clean Energy Transition 

This initial agreement with LEAG has the potential to accelerate the clean energy transition through the deployment of renewable generation, green hydrogen production and ESS iron flow battery technology. 

The potential implications are monumental. ESS will work alongside LEAG to construct a 50 MW / 500 MWh iron flow battery system at the Boxberg Power Plant site in Eastern Germany, which is expected to become a building block for LEAG’s broader deployment of energy storage to underpin Europe’s largest clean energy hub.  

This commitment to energy storage is just one aspect of LEAG’s broader plan to develop 7-14 GW of renewable generation paired with 2-3 GWh of energy storage and 2 GW of green hydrogen production. Together, these systems will provide 24/7 clean energy without the need for gas peaker plants to balance intermittent wind and solar generation. 

Bringing Green Technologies to Scale 

The deployment of clean energy technologies at this scale will require collaboration from many stakeholders across industry, government and civil society. This is being enabled by the recently formed Energy Resilience Leadership Group (ERLG), led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy, Siemens Energy and others, with the vocal support of the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen.  The ERLG has driven the development of the LEAG clean energy hub blueprint through its work to facilitate partnerships between institutions and innovators and encourage the scale up of projects that promote energy security and increase the development of zero-carbon technologies.  

At the LEAG site in Germany, renewable generation coupled with energy storage will help to eliminate the 50,000 tonnes of coal which is mined and burned at the LEAG site every day, eliminating a total of 20 million tonnes of CO2 a year. 

Transforming the Energy Ecosystem 

It is through similar collaborations and partnerships that we can accelerate the transition to clean energy while providing energy security. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has illustrated the vulnerability of fossil energy systems and underscores the urgency of this work and this project illustrates a pathway for the retirement of coal infrastructure without the need for natural gas.  

This partnership goes beyond the deployment of new technologies: it also encompasses a broader commitment to local communities and economic growth. By committing to investment in sustainable and responsible infrastructure, LEAG and ESS aim to drive economic development, employment opportunities and vitality for a region reliant on the coal industry. Harmful pollutants will be eliminated and coal mines will be restored to natural, green habitats for local communities.    

We are honored to be a part of this project and will continue to engage with key stakeholders worldwide to encourage the adoption and deployment of bold, innovative clean energy hubs and deliver the secure, decarbonized energy future.   

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