Energy bands – putting an intelligent concept into practice


“No more kilometers of freeway are to be planned without exhausting the possibilities of generating renewable energies”, according to the resolution of the traffic light government.

But how is that supposed to work?

Even now, there is hardly enough space available along the very tightly planned routes and wind turbines have to keep their distance, criticize associations. To produce 1,000 TWh of electricity from photovoltaics and wind power, we would need three times the area of the Saarland.

The “Altes Neuland” foundation’s energy ribbon concept from Frankfurt shows that there could be an intelligent solution. It is not limited to new construction, but to the entire existing network of highways and federal roads. After all, the German freeway network is 13,000 kilometers long and twice as long on both sides.

Photovoltaics are installed on the pylons to the right and left of the routes and supplemented by small wind turbines in windy areas. High-current cables run parallel to this in the ground and are connected to transformer stations. In order to protect the landscape in sensitive areas, the pylons can be removed and only the power cable can continue to run.

You could start implementing it now, bit by bit, because the installation is simple and does not require any complicated structural engineering. Nothing has to be newly developed. All the technology and components are already available. Serial construction techniques that do not require large construction sites are conceivable. The strip used already belongs to the public sector, which simplifies the process immensely.

The energy strips generate decentralized electricity, which they transport to consumers or storage facilities. The principle not only shortens distribution routes, but also structurally serves to balance out volatility in generation and consumption. If there are consumers with different consumption profiles along the route, there is a greater chance of a more even power consumption overall.

The routes also balance out volatility in generation. While it is raining in one area, the sun may be shining again a few kilometers away. The best complement to photovoltaics is wind power, which is also generated at night and in winter. If photovoltaics and wind power are combined regionally, regional self-sufficiency could be achieved on a small scale, especially as the energy bands can also absorb electricity from other, decentralized generators. Accompanied by fiber optic expansion, an Internet of Energy could be created.

Germany currently consumes around 560 TWh of electricity per year. According to calculations, demand is set to rise to 2,400 TWh by 2050 if electromobility and heat pumps are added across the board. In order to become less dependent on energy supplies, more electricity must be produced in Germany.

The government’s declarations do not help enough. A concrete, practical approach is needed. We need to take the step from theory to practice. The conceptual phase of the energy bands has been completed and there are certainly various other intelligent concepts and ideas.

Doris Höflich, Market Intelligence Senior Expert