Lower Saxony does not only have great potential for the utilisation of wind energy, but as an extensive flatland it has the second highest potential of all federal states to utilise solar energy. With solar and wind energy being seasonally complementary, Lower Saxony can use significant amounts of renewable energy throughout the year if it consistently develops both technologies.
Solar energy can be used almost anywhere in small and large systems, is economically feasible for many applications already and is widely accepted by the population. For these reasons solar energy utilisation is expanding rapidly around the globe. Worldwide investments in solar energy production exceeded 100 billion dollars for the first time in 2017. This growing market also provides opportunities for companies from Lower Saxony; be it in the area of planning, erecting and operating solar energy systems, in manufacturing components to be used in solar energy systems or in mechanical engineering for production and inspection plants.
The area of solar energy within the line of research is covered by the Institute for Solar Energy Research (ISFH), an associated institute of the Leibniz University Hannover, and by researchers from the University of Technology Braunschweig, the Leibniz University Hannover as well as the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. Application-driven solar research is characterised by intensive cooperation with industry. Central problems of solar energy research concern not only the further development of components for cost-efficient supply of renewable energy, but also the integration of solar energy into our energy system to ensure secure supply.
Wind energy is one of the supporting pillars of our future energy system. The potential of generating electricity with wind energy plants on land and at sea is enormous. The interaction of wind energy systems that are becoming bigger and more efficient is very complex and only with the active support of these evolutions by solid research and development institutions can further significant progress in terms of cost reductions and reliability be achieved.
The area of wind energy within the line of research is covered by the Centre for Wind Energy Research – ForWind – that is jointly run by the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, the Leibniz University Hannover and the University Bremen. ForWind brings together scientific and technical expertise of about 30 institutes and groups from engineering and natural sciences as well as informatics and economic science. From the external conditions, such as turbulent winds, waves and currents, to plant technology, from rotors to the foundation, right up to the integration into the energy system – ForWind researches the complex correlation of all these areas in the wind energy system. Numerous cooperative projects with industry, as well as the organisation of qualification programmes, workshops and professional seminars allow a rapid and effective transfer of new insights and innovations.
The university locations provide scientists in this line of research with comprehensive research infrastructure.