Overview of the first day of the trade fair

The focus of this year’s E-world energy & water is on the digitalisation of the energy industry. Established companies and young start-ups are presenting their innovative solutions on this future-orientated topic, for example technologies for intelligent power transmission and distribution, or the control methods available to consumers by means of smart metering and smart home systems. We’re taking a look at the first day of the trade fair.

The traditional opening conference once again launched the E-world event. The President of the BDEW, Johannes Kempmann, provided a very optimistic view of the future of the energy sector. He said that a spirit of optimism was again prevailing and the industry saw itself as a growth sector once again. The general message of his speech was that new fields of activity and opportunities for electricity and gas were emerging through the interlinking of the two sectors.

However, he was also quick to criticise the direction of the German government’s energy policy. “It is a dilemma for the Energy Transition that politicians are constantly trying to make adjustments to some elements at individual points.” In his opinion, it would be better, for example, if politicians would consider the fundamental question of how the grids will be financed in future. The transformed feed-in situation, with millions of decentralised power plants supplying energy on a volatile basis, has dramatically altered the tasks of the grids and the challenges they face. The cost driver in this area is now less the decreasing number of customers and more the number of customers feeding in electricity.

Climate protection does not oppose industrial areas

North Rhine-Westphalia needs to further promote its commitment to climate protection, but must not lose its position as a leading industrial area, according to NRW’s state premier, Hannelore Kraft (SPD), speaking at the 21st Expert Conference on Future Energies of the NRW energy agency held during the E-world trade fair. She said that NRW has proved that economic growth and climate protection were not incompatible. The state continues to be a powerful industrialised area, “but the sky above the Ruhr region is now blue,” Kraft said. The state initiative “Klima Expo NRW” is demonstrating that concurrently successful climate protection projects are being implemented. These include projects such as “Carbon 2 Chem” run by the steel manufacturer Thyssen Krupp, where smelting gases from steel production are used as the raw material for chemical products. Or the flexibility measures introduced by the aluminium producer, Trimet, in Essen. “If we continue our efforts, then a vision can once again become reality inspired by initiatives in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Hydrogen as the solution for surplus wind power

The hydrogen generated from surplus wind power can make an important contribution to the integration of renewable energies into the system, said Rene Schoof, Technology Manager at Uniper Energy Storage, at a symposium at E-world in Essen. The prerequisite for this is “positive recognition” and regulatory support at government level. “Since 2010 we have been investigating the innovative area of Power-to-Heat and Power-to-Gas and we have established that we need them to interlink the sectors,” Schoof continued. The possible applications of hydrogen are diverse. “Hydrogen is available for a wide range of uses: The steel and fertilizer industries, heating, reconversion to electricity or also in the transport sector,” said

Schoof. The European market for hydrogen has a demand of around 80 billion cubic metres per year, the majority of which is generated from natural gas “with the negative consequence of CO2 emissions.” “Why can’t we replace this grey hydrogen with the green hydrogen from Power-to-Gas? Why can’t green hydrogen be counted as biofuel, in order to fulfill the EU requirements for CO2 reduction?” said Schoof.

Terium: “You will not win new customers by means of a colourful logo”

A good six months after announcing their new name, the management of the energy company, innogy, is drawing mixed conclusions. In the Ruhr district, where the headquarters of the parent company, RWE, are based, “innogy” has achieved a brand awareness level of 40 per cent, said Sales Director Martin Herrmann at a press briefing. Although innogy is lagging far behind the established brand of the parent company, Hermann was optimistic. “Our brand awareness level is increasing every week,” the Sales Director said. He referred to the example of the Czech market, where innogy has meanwhile achieved a brand awareness level of 50 percent. Chief executive Peter Terium poured cold water on expectations that a new brand presence would simultaneously lead to high customer acquisition. “You will not win new customers with a colourful logo alone” A much more decisive factor is offering good value products customers actually want. That is what they were planning to concentrate on, he said. Terium stressed that innogy did not lose any customers as a result of the name change. RWE customers were “very loyal”, he said.

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