At the EWI Energy Conference, numerous experts from energy economics and practice discussed the current energy crisis and its consequences for the German and European energy markets. Several thematic blocks dealt with the gas market, the industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia, municipal utilities, the electricity market and hydrogen as an energy carrier.
“Energy is an essential and probably permanently scarce commodity in the energy transformation,” said EWI Director Professor Marc Oliver Bettzüge at the opening of the event at the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung in Cologne. Among the more than 100 guests were prominent experts from politics, science and business, such as Prof. Veronika Grimm (Friedrich Alexander University of Nuremberg and the German Council of Economic Experts), Prof. Michael Hüther (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft), Karsten Bourwieg (Bundesnetzagentur), Catharina Friedrich (rhenag Rheinische Energie AG), Eva Hennig (Thüga AG), Prof. Dieter Bathen (Johannes Rau Research Association) and Klaus Schäfer (Covestro).
NRW Economics and Energy Minister Mona Neubaur spoke in a keynote video message about North Rhine-Westphalia as Industrial State 2.0 and that “the current situation will accelerate the transformation even further.”
Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of Uniper, on the topic of “Gas market – from bridge to problem child?” pointed out that Germany was in intense competition in the LNG market, especially with the Asian market. “If Germany misses out on entering the LNG market, it will always have to procure gas at higher prices in the short term,” said Uniper CEO Maubach.
The second topic was “Industrial State NRW 2.0 – What does the new coalition agreement bring?” on the competitiveness of industry in North Rhine-Westphalia. The current biennial report of the Expert Council for Climate Issues (ERK) was presented by ERK Chairman Prof. Hans-Martin Henning, Director of Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg. The report deals with the development of greenhouse gas emissions since the year 2000. EWI Director Bettzüge is also part of the council.
Andreas Feicht, CEO of RheinEnergie, spoke on the topic of “Municipal utilities between energy crisis and transformation” in his keynote speech. He said that municipal utilities are currently facing two challenges at once with the current energy crisis and the upcoming transformation. The CAPEX-intensive area in particular is currently growing very strongly, said Feicht.
Kerstin Andreae, Chairwoman of the Executive Board of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), joined the conference from Berlin to discuss security of supply in the electricity sector. “All three aspects of the energy triangle of clean, secure and affordable energy are under pressure,” Andreae said.
Current research from EWI was presented by Julian Keutz (scenarios for the price development of energy carriers under uncertainty), Berit Hanna Czock (role of battery storage in the transmission grid) and Michael Moritz (decarbonization of the global steel sector). The final topic was “Hydrogen – Strategies, Instruments, Implementation”.
The energy conference was held in cooperation with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) and the Johannes Rau Research Foundation (JRF), of which the EWI is a member. The event was moderated by Jan Hauser of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
NRW Minister Neubaur found the closing words already at the beginning of the conference: “The foundation for successful change is independent research. Please keep it up!”