Renewable Energy Hamburg has engaged in several activities, projects and collaborations within the context of international renewable energy markets. By partnering with the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for delegation visits and market explorations abroad, organising high-level workshops on international topics, hosting foreign delegations in Hamburg or participating in EU-projects, Renewable Energy Hamburg has enhanced its international profile.
Recently, there was a clear focus on Japan in the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster’s international activities. Japan, and more specifically the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima, has a unique symbolic character for the development of renewable energies. It was the three-fold disaster involving the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in Fukushima that changed German energy policy forever, bringing about a rapid nuclear phase-out in Germany.
The events of March 2011 have left their mark in Japan in particular. Although Japan has not yet completely turned its back on nuclear energy, the development and promotion of a variety of renewable energy sources and energy storage technologies is being actively pursued. Particularly in the case of hydrogen, Japan has a pioneering role worldwide.
Ambitious renewable energy plans of Fukushima
Now the Fukushima Prefecture is focusing on becoming self-supplying with renewable energy. Therefore they are developing onshore and offshore projects as well as solar parks. At the same time, Fukushima is playing a crucial role in the Japanese strategy to develop a hydrogen economy: to use hydrogen produced with renewable energy, and to use this hydrogen in fuel-cell based cars and vehicles as well as for industrial usage. The Renewable Energy Hamburg cluster is supporting the exchange of information and cooperation in the field of wind power and hydrogen between companies from the Fukushima Prefecture and companies based in the Hamburg Metropolitan region.
Cooperation with Fukushima Prefecture
Official cooperation between the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster and Energy Agency Fukushima has existed since 2018. In October 2019, the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, Masao Uchibori, and the First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Dr Peter Tschentscher, officially extended the cooperation to the prefectural and federal level when signing an agreement at Hamburg City Hall.
Milestones in the Japan-related activities of Renewable Energy Hamburg:
Renewable energy amongst our northern neighbours
For the Danish, the energy transition is a love affair. In order to become climate-neutral, our northern neighbours are pursuing some extremely ambitious goals. Even now, 50 per cent of their energy supply is sourced from wind and sun (2019 figures). By 2030, the Danish government aims to force CO2 emissions down to 70 per cent below their 1990 values. By 2050, they want to achieve climate neutrality. Key Danish renewable energy enterprises are playing their part to implement this, such as the transmission grid operator Energienet, the energy supplier and project developer Orsted, and the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas.
In 2019, the proportion of wind power in Danish electricity consumption was 47%, and 29% of this was made up of onshore wind. Residents can hold up to 20% of shares in each onshore wind park. However, wind energy installations on land have been stagnating for years. There’s also a new trend in Denmark: ‘PPAs’, long-term electricity supplier contracts. In 2020, for example, the Essen-based energy corporation RWE concluded a PPA with a Danish partner. The contract concerns around 3 billion kWh of power from onshore wind and solar sources.
The proportion of offshore wind energy in Danish energy consumption rose from 14% to 18% in 2019. Denmark is currently planning a huge offshore wind island with a capacity of up to ten gigawatts, which is intended to supply ten million European households with electricity. The island, which is predominantly privately financed, is planned to come on stream in 2030. The energy will reach the mainland via an undersea cable. Surplus wind energy will be saved in the form of green hydrogen.
While Denmark has achieved worldwide renown as a wind power pioneer, what is less widely known is that our northern neighbours are right out in front in the field of the heating transition as well. Around 65% of their heating provision is based on renewable energy. The key elements here are combined heat and power and district heating systems. At present, 1,000 decentralised CHP plants, fuelled by waste, biogas, biomass and natural gas, have an available capacity of 2.5 gigawatts. The Danes also use the sun for heat generation, in the form of solar-powered district heating supply systems.
In Denmark, too, cluster organisations are working to successfully implement the energy transition – above all the Clean Cluster, which includes 170 companies and Energy Cluster Denmark. Renewable ENergy Hamburg has been developing very close contacts with the Clean Cluster since as far back as 2011 as well as the recently formed Energy Cluster Denmark, and is for example collaborating on the Interreg Europe ‘Northern Connections’ project.