Energy efficiency networks support innovations
The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and the Energy Efficiency Network Initiative organized a join event “Energy Efficiency Networks – Opportunities for German Industry and for Climate Protection“ as part of the Berliner Energietage (Berlin Energy Days). Representatives of industrial associations, policy making, science and industry highlighted different aspects of Energy Efficiency Networks and reported their experiences in various presentations and three panel discussions.
To kick-off the event “Energy Efficiency Networks – Opportunities for German Industry and for Climate Protection“, Ulrich Benterbusch (German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) emphasized that energy efficiency networks are of key importance to achieving the objectives and targets set for industry in Germany’s National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE) and its Climate Action Program 2020. The networks are an instrument of industry for industry: Those organizing the networks – the network initiators and managers – are mainly stakeholders from consultancies and the energy industry, from chambers of commerce and industry as well as economic platforms; network participants tend to be businesses from industry and other economic sectors.
Dr. Eberhard von Rottenburg (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie/ Federation of German Industry) and Dr. Jan Witt (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft / German Association of Energy and Water Industries) explained the benefits of energy efficiency networks for industrial enterprises and the energy industry. Network participants are much faster at implementing profitable energy efficiency measures and lower their energy costs twice as quickly as the average in their industry. Energy saving measures frequently increase productivity and quality as well as improving the business’s image regarding employees and customers and all these effects contribute to greater competitiveness. Dr. Jan Witt emphasized that energy suppliers acting as network managers gained a lot of insights into the processes and decision routines of the participating businesses and could tailor their services to meet the needs of their industrial clients.
Professor Harald Bradke (Fraunhofer ISI) reported the results obtained so far from the Learning Energy Efficiency Networks: Experience shows that a group’s collective intelligence is better than an individual’s; in addition, participating in networks is very cost-efficient for the enterprise and a time-efficient way of further educating and training the person responsible for energy. Innovative solutions trigger a constant stream of new efficiency potentials and cost savings; more complex solutions also evolve and are being demanded by businesses for their machinery and equipment suppliers. Many participants thought about the energy efficiency of their own products or their skills and abilities to develop new products and services.
Experiences and advice reported in three panel discussions
Three network participants reported their experiences in regional, sector and organization-internal energy efficiency networks: Dr. Armin Seitz (Moll Marzipan GmbH), Dirk Woidt (Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmbH) and Hubert Hermelingmeier (Miele & Cie. KG). Representatives of network managers – Lutz Lohmann (Sales & Solutions GmbH der EnBW AG), Erik Pfeifer (Industrie- und Handelskammer Berlin / Berlin’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and Christian Otto (Bundesverband der Energie-Abnehmer / German Association of Energy Consumers ) – gave advice on how to attract businesses to take part in networks based on their experiences.
In December 2014, the German government and 20 business associations signed an agreement to set up 500 energy efficiency networks by 2020. Although such networks can have a positive impact on investments, employment and competitiveness, up to now, their take-off has been rather slow: 30 networks were set up in 2015, a further 20 in the first quarter of 2016. In the final panel discussions, Dr. Hans Joachim Ziesing (AG Energiebilanzen / The Working Group on Energy Balances), Dr. Sven Reinhardt (German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Buildings and Nuclear Safety), Ulrich Benterbusch (BMWi), Dr. Eberhard von Rottenburg (BDI) and Mark Becker (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag / The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry) looked at how to accelerate this process to create 90 new networks in 2016: Convincing large energy utilities to act as network managers is a promising route as is getting large organizations with numerous production sites on board as well as the associations’ working groups on energy. They also recommended a special government funding program to support the efficiency investments of network enterprises, intensive engagement of the signatory associations at federal state level, and strong participation of the 79 chambers of commerce and industry.
More information and all the documents from the event (in German) can be found at https://www.energie-effizienz-netzwerke.de/een-de/aktuelles/meldungen/veranstaltungen.php.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.