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Award-winning: smart solutions for the energy supply system of the future Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster presents German Renewables Award 2015 in four categories

Pioneering storage technologies, more effective production processes – the winners of the German Renewables Awards 2015 are championing a successful energy transition in Germany with their winning projects. For the fourth time, the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster presented the German Renewables Award for innovations and pioneering achievements in the wind energy industry. An independent jury selected four winners from 43 submissions and nominations in the categories “Product Innovation of the Year”, “Project of the Year”, “Student Thesis of the Year” and “Lifetime Achievement”. At the same time, Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster was celebrating its fifth anniversary. The industrial network has grown to nearly 200 members.

“Currently, politicians from around the world are negotiating the future of our planet’s climate at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 21 in Paris, with the aim of leaving behind a liveable planet for future generations. In Hamburg, we are proud of being able to make our very own contribution to improving the climate by awarding the German Renewables Awards 2015 to creative and motivated people in the renewable energy sector,” said Hamburg's Senator for Economics, Transport and Innovation Frank Horch.

“This year's winners of the German Renewables Awards and their works prove the unwaning inventiveness of the renewable energy sector. Their projects cover a very wide range – from smart grids to setting the legal course for the renewable energy industry. We congratulate all award winners and hope that they will continue to successfully advance our industry with many forward-looking ideas,” said an impressed Jan Rispens, Managing Director of Renewable Energy Hamburg.

The “Lifetime Achievement” category

The award in the category “Lifetime Achievement” goes to a pioneer of the German Renewable Energies Act, the former Senior Legal Secretary Dr Wolfhart Dürrschmidt. The Doctor of Physics gained invaluable merits with his expertise, persuasiveness and tact. For over 30 years, Dr Dürrschmidt was involved in the expansion of renewable energies and active climate protection. As part of the research section of the German Bundestag, he served in the commission of enquiry “Provisions to protect the earth's atmosphere”, offering support for Climate and Energy issues from 1988 to 1990, and in 1991 he moved on to the Federal Ministry for the Environment. Among other things, he played an active role in the emergence and further development of the Electricity Feed-in Law and until 2004, the Renewable Energy Sources Act. Until 2012, he headed the strategy and support department for Renewable Energies of the Federal Ministry of the Environment. In the category of “Lifetime Achievement”, the jury selected one winner from a total of twelve nominees.

“The bottom line that I can draw after over three decades of professional commitment to active climate protection, renewable energies and a sustainable energy supply system: the climate talks in Paris will be a success if the international community can agree on a binding climate protection strategy and if individual countries like Germany step up to lead by example. The whole world is looking at the energy transition unfold in Germany: can we succeed in the transformation towards a sustainable energy supply system based on 100% renewable energy? For this to work, one half must endeavour to establish a consistent expansion of renewable energies, and the other half has to commit to energy conservation and energy efficiency,” said Dr Wolfhart Dürrschmidt, the former Senior Legal Secretary, in reference to the current situation.

Category “Product Innovation of the Year”

The largest available and standardised PEM electrolysis system – the SILYZER – won Siemens AG the German Renewables Award 2015 in the category “Product Innovation of the Year”. With the aid of electrolysis, excess renewable electricity can be converted into hydrogen, which can then be stored as the need arises. Hydrogen is a valuable and versatile resource for the industry and the mobility sector in conjunction with fuel cells for later reconversion processes. The modular electrolyser consists of at least one cell stack with 1.25 MW, and can be combined to form an electrolysis assembly with over 20 MW. With an operating time of more than 80,000 hours, the SILYZER is one of the first industrially viable PEM systems. 14 companies competed in this category.

 “If the reduction targets for greenhouse gases are not just mere lip service, politics, our society, the industry and energy business must all consistently focus on renewable energies. The electrolytic conversion of energy into hydrogen is a great way of storing “green electricity” on an industrial scale to create CO2-free mobility and to partially substitute the CO2 emitter natural gas,” said the Team Hydrogen Solutions of Siemens AG.

Category “Project of the Year”

The importance of smart storage systems in local energy supply is underlined by the project SmartRegion Pellworm, winner of the “Project of the Year” category. Over several decades, Hansewerk AG and Schleswig-Holstein Netz GmbH have created a supply system on the North Sea island of Pellworm that is characterised by a high share of renewable energies. On the annual balance sheet, about three times the volume of electricity is generated from renewable energy sources as is consumed, aided by the utilisation of several innovative storage systems and smart control systems. The 37 km²-island is connected to the mainland by two undersea cables. There were six applications in the category “Project of the Year”.

“What is now being realised on Pellworm on a small scale helps to reduce the old dependencies of the new energy world, and to make better use of renewable energies by coupling energy generation with consumption. We are therefore delighted to receive this award, which for us is a confirmation and source of motivation,” said Dieter Haack, Project Manager at Schleswig-Holstein Netz AG.  

Category “Student Thesis of the Year”

In order to construct particularly high towers for low-wind turbines, Florian Roscheck, a graduate of the University of Applied Sciences Flensburg, programmed a robot with new welding techniques. The winner in the category “Student Thesis of the Year” developed a prototype for spiral welding processes for the US-based company Keystone Tower Systems, with which turbine towers can be manufactured on-site using steel plates. With the new method, a first tower was built in Massachusetts in 2015. Eleven companies competed in this category. The German Renewables Award for the best “Student Thesis of the Year” is endowed with 5,000 euros. “I am very grateful and happy for being awarded the German Renewables Award for my master's thesis. This special award is a clear call for me to actively contribute to the advancement of renewable energies not only in Germany but also internationally,” said Florian Roscheck, Keystone Tower Systems.

The German Renewables Award is under the auspices of Senator Frank Horch, president of the Economics, Transport and Innovation authority of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster has been presenting the awards every year since 2012. Next year, the fifth German Renewables Award will be awarded as part of the international trade fair Wind Energy Hamburg 2016. As the main sponsor, Siemens AG kindly supports the fourth German Renewables Awards.

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