Industrial demand-side flexibility: A key element of a just energy transition and industrial development
In many countries, industry is one of the largest consumers of electricity. Given the special importance of electricity for industry, a reliable electricity supply is a basic prerequisite for further industrial development and associated economic growth. As countries worldwide transition to a low-carbon economy (in particular, by the development of renewable energy sources), the increasing fluctuation in renewable energy production requires new flexibility options within the electricity system in order to guarantee security of supply. It is advanced in this paper that such a flexibility transition with an active participation of industry in general has unique potential: It will not only promote green industrial development, but also become an engine for inclusive industrial development and growth as well as delivering a just transition to a low-carbon economy. Given the high potential of industrial demand-side flexibility, a first monitoring approach for such a flexibility transition is illustrated, which bases on a flexibility index. Our flexibility index allows for an indication of mis-developments and supports an appropriate implementation of countermeasures together with relevant stakeholders. Hence, it holds various insights for both policy-makers and practice with respect to how industrial demand-side flexibility can ensure advances towards an inclusive, just, and sustainable industrial development.