Virtual power plants, power purchase agreements, sustainable heat supply concepts in commercial enterprises - the winners of this year's eighth German Renewables Award are researching and working at the cutting edge of the renewable energy industry. At the Opernloft Altona in the Port of Hamburg and in front of an audience composed of trade experts, Hamburg’s leading industry network - the Hamburg Renewable Energy Cluster (EEHH) - presented the winners in the categories Product Innovation of the Year, Project of the Year, Student Thesis of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Journalism. In the run-up to the competition, an eight-member independent jury with a great deal of expertise in the field of energy had selected the winners.
Product Innovation of the Year
How can excess wind power be stored? A long-standing topic for the renewable energy industry and the team of WEMAG - Westmecklenburgische Energieversorgung AG in Schwerin. Jost Broichmann and Tobias Struck developed the WBS 500, a kind of transformer and switching station that can also supply power in the event of a grid interruption and that acts as a charging point for electric cars. On the outside, the WBS 500 looks like a very old-fashioned power distribution box but on the inside, it offers a host of new features. In particular for small and medium-sized industrial enterprises, grid operators and municipal utilities, it is a forward-looking solution which earned WEMAG the German Renewables Award in the category “Product Innovation of the Year”.
Tobias Struck, head of the storage group at WEMAG:
“The whole team is thrilled about this award. It confirms that we have been able to find an optimal solution for consumers and grid operators with a view to a constant power supply despite volatile feed-in from renewable energy systems.”
Thomas Murche, technical director of WEMAG AG:
“With its various functions and flexible applications, our battery storage system offers very good preconditions for a technical implementation of the energy transition. With the WBS 500, WEMAG has developed a compact storage system that creates benefits for energy suppliers and the industry alike. The WBS 500 has sufficient power and capacity to provide 500 kilowatts of primary control reserve. The system is able to compensate for frequency fluctuations in mere fractions of a second. And when the battery is required for a local bottleneck, another system within the virtual power plant can assume this function.”
Project of the Year
Enduring the summer heat without air conditioning in office and laboratory buildings? The concept chosen by Dr Eckart Jantzen, Managing Director of the Galab food laboratory in Bergedorf, for his new laboratory building makes it possible. A combination of ice storage and heat pump allows the laboratory to be run without another energy source, all just based on water as a storage medium. An impressive result: emission savings of 70 %, a feat that encourages imitation by other companies and laboratories. In recognition of that, Dr Jantzen received the German Renewables Award for “Project of the Year”.
“We are proud that our ScienceEconomy Hub's integrated local heating/cooling system received the German Renewables Award. It is the obvious things that, in sum, have a huge effect. Doing something obvious, not waiting for support, believing in instinct and in the feasibility of the seemingly impossible in terms of energy all let us look to the future with a little less worry,” said the winner Dr Eckart Jantzen.
Student Thesis of the Year
Many wind and solar projects will soon run out of EEG funding (German feed-in tariff). What is the best way a project developer could react? Svantje Schulz worked on a promising solution as part of her master's thesis at Hamburg Commercial Bank and ISM School of Management. She analysed alternatives to EEG funding: Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), long-term electricity supply agreements between two parties, often between a power producer and a customer. How can new financing risks be assessed and how can PPAs be implemented safely and transparently for all parties? The jury honoured Svantje Schulz for her outstanding analysis with the German Renewables Award in the category “Student Thesis of the Year”.
“I am very grateful that I - in cooperation with Hamburg Commercial Bank AG - had the opportunity to deal with the current topic of Power Purchase Agreements in my master's thesis and I am very delighted to receive the German Renewables Award,” said prizewinner Svantje Schulz.
He is distinguished by his diplomatic skills, courage and perseverance. Dr Wolfgang von Geldern was passionately committed to environmental protection and renewable energies. The former CDU state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture was not only politically highly committed; from 1995 onwards, he set up one of the leading project developers in the field of renewable energies together with Norbert Plambeck: Plambeck Neue Energien AG, or PNE AG for short. As president of the “Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald” (Association for the Protection of the German Forest), he successfully campaigned for nature conservation.
“Since 1991, renewable energies and above all wind power, have enjoyed a unique, politically favoured and socially desired development in Germany, which served the climate and the environment, an import-independent, resource-saving and cost-effective electricity supply. Current policy threatens to jeopardise this development, as the example of the one-size-fits-all spacing rule of 1,000 m clearly shows. I hope that the prizes and their sponsors can still stop this!” requested Dr Wolfgang von Geldern.
Journalism award of the Year
“The pioneers of the energy transition - the climate protectors from the Hunsrück mountain range” was the way TV journalist Christian Hattesen portrayed the pioneers in the SWR series “Made in Südwest”. According to the jury, he was able to “transfer their enthusiasm for climate protection to the audience”. A convincing report in terms of content and concept, which earned Christian Hattesen the second Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster Journalism Award of the Year.
“For me, the challenge in making this film was to tell a rather sober technical story - the climate protection efforts in the Rhine-Hunsrück district - about the people involved and their emotions. As the shooting progressed, it became increasingly clear to me how important it was to actively involve as many citizens as possible in the energy transition and not to rely exclusively on technical innovations. What I felt in this district was a collective enthusiasm that makes the necessary bottom-up changes possible and from which everyone would benefit - even though the political framework conditions have degraded rather than improved. For me, the climate protection manager stood as an example of someone who had made the energy transition his own personal business and was doing everything he could to get more and more people on board - but never with a wagging finger. With the help of this film, I came to the conclusion that the success story in the Rhine-Hunsrück district could also be written in many other regions in Germany if people were to set off together. And if the prize for this film - which is a great honour to me - helps convey exactly this message, then I would be all the more delighted,” said Christian Hattesen about winning the second Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster Journalism award.