'I am extremely excited to be here', says dena’s Managing Director Andreas Kuhlmann to the guests and journalists present. On this summer day, they have gathered just outside Berlin to inaugurate a new logistics centre for the supermarket chain Lidl, as well as to present an extraordinary partnership, which arose less than a year ago at the dena Congress in the German capital.
Standing next to Kuhlmann are Wolf Tiedemann, a member of the management at Lidl Deutschland, and Dr Dominik Freund from the e-mobility company wallbe. Between the three, as a symbol for the successful partnership, is a very special 'pump' for electric cars.
“What we wanted to do is bring together innovative major players. And that is exactly what we succeeded at doing here.”
20 such E-pumps will soon be standing outside Lidl stores in Germany. Thanks to an innovative fast charger, customers will then be able to charge their cars conveniently and at no charge while they do their grocery shopping. 'The potential is great, and the project is just getting started', says Dominik Freund, full of anticipation. The first 'pumps' are now standing on the parking lot of the brand-new Lidl logistics centre in Großbeeren, just outside Berlin.
Without the dena Congress, this partnership would never have been formed
The dena Congress is the largest cross-sectoral event for the energy transition in Germany: for representatives from the fields of politics, industry, associations, the sciences, research, as well as start-ups from the building, electricity, transportation, energy production, storage, networking, and digitalization sectors. Get your ticket now for the 2016 dena Congress on 22 and 23 November in Berlin.
The budget supermarket chain has greatly exceeded the Federal Government's environmental and efficiency requirements over the past few years. 'We want to ensure sustainability through efficiency, and by doing so often set new standards in the industry which exceed statutory requirements', explains Tiedemann. For this ambitious strategy, Lidl received the 2015 Energy Efficiency Award from dena. This prize is awarded each year at the dena Congress to recognise extraordinary energy efficiency projects. And it is exactly there that the partnership with wallbe began.
'What we wanted to do is bring together innovative major players. And that is exactly what we succeeded at doing here.' says Andreas Kuhlmann, beaming proudly at his two comrades-in-arms. Indeed, the three men standing at the E-pump are linked by a common history that would not have existed without the dena Congress. 'By organising the Congress, Mr Kuhlmann and dena have created a forum which makes such partnerships at all possible,' agrees Wolf Tiedemann.
“I simply approached Mr Tiedemann. And the rest is history, as they say.”
Hundreds of participants from all sectors of the energy industry, politics, and NGOs met at the Congress last year — including wallbe. For the company, participating in the company truly turned out to be a stroke of luck. 'I was sitting in the audience when Lidl received the prize, and then approached Mr Tiedemann from our booth. And the rest is history, as they say', says Dominik Freund.
700 experts and decision-makers
In order to network stakeholders such as wallbe and Lidl, dena organises one of the largest cross-sectoral events for the energy transition each year. The dena Congress in Berlin brings together innovation drivers, allowing them to develop common solutions and forge contacts. Around 700 participants from industry, the sciences, politics, and associations attended the various forums for experts and decision-makers. Speakers included representatives from various ministries, energy companies, as well as non-governmental organisations.
“By organising the Congress, dena has created a forum that makes such partnerships at all possible.”
One core idea behind this event is that the top-down approach taken by the Federal Government is insufficient for efficiently realising the energy transition. Many factors such as decentralisation and digitalisation speak in favour of a stronger bottom-up approach. This means a process that is not entirely dependent on regulations from above, but searches for innovative solutions on its own. And it is precisely because of this that it is so important to network the central stakeholders.
An applied energy transition
Collaboration between various stakeholders is of central importance for the energy transition. 'dena is sort of like the agency for the applied energy transition', says Kuhlmann. 'We don't only want to conduct complex studies on how it could all look like in 25 years. Naturally, that is also important. But we also want to know what is possible now.'
Hence, at the dena Congress, the focus is on projects whose strategies can also be applied to other companies. The Energy Efficiency Award aims to be a beacon for those who wish to follow in these footsteps. The partnership between Lidl and wallbe — and all involved parties concur — is one such beacon. And the partnership also shows another thing: the future of the energy transition will begin at the dena Congress.
For more information visit www.dena-kongress.de