On 17 and 18 March more than 1,000 participants from over 70 countries gathered together at the German Foreign Office for the second Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD), in order to exchange views on the present state and future prospects of the energy transition. Appropriate strategic approaches to progress the energy transition internationally were presented and discussed under the patronage of German Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel. The main focal points were the areas of energy efficiency, improved linking between sectors, sustainable configuration of the transport and mobility sector, further development of energy storage systems, intelligent heating and cooling control, and national and cross-border integration of markets and networks.
Buildings – the key to achieving climate goals
One of the nine themes of the conference was concerned with the building sector. Here the roundtable discussion 'Energy Transition in Buildings', chaired by dena Chief Executive Andreas Kuhlmann, revealed the need to catch up in the area of energy efficiency. Buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of total energy consumption and 36 per cent of CO2 emissions in Europe – which means that they play a key role in the achievement of energy and climate objectives. In this field, the need for action is greatest where existing buildings are concerned. The building sector is also exciting because it enables good connections to be made between renewable energies and energy efficiency. And it's also here that intelligent technologies are increasingly being used, for example for managing energy consumption. Key questions of the discussion included which technologies were best suited for increasing efficiency in buildings, and how to boost investments for them.
The sense of a new beginning unleashed by the climate summit in Paris, with its agreement on global climate goals, was echoed at the conference in the form of a clearly perceptible optimism in this sector.
International business-to-government dialogues
For the international conference participants, dena had conceived a wide-ranging supporting programme and co-ordinated activities by extra players. As well as nine guided tours to reference projects for the energy transition in Germany, dena also organised two business-to-government dialogues (B2G) with Mexico and Egypt. Here representatives of the Mexican and Egyptian governments presented their respective energy markets to representatives of the German energy industry. Subsequently, they answered the German representatives' many questions and discussed investment opportunities.
The B2G dialogue with Egypt was opened by Dr Magdy Rady, Assistant Minister in the Egyptian Foreign Office. Kristina Haverkamp, dena’s Chief Executive, led the discussion. The B2G dialogue with Mexico was opened by the Mexican Ambassador to Berlin, Her Excellency Patricia Espinosa Cantellano.
dena tours to energy transition hotspots
The tours complemented the whole spectrum of topics on the conference programme, ranging from the renewable energy industry in Germany, sustainable mobility, flexibilisation and storage to energy-efficient buildings and energy self-sufficient municipalities. In all, over 100 foreign participants took part in the tours, making use of the opportunity to forge contacts with German industry and broaden their knowledge of applied energy transition topics at the same time. Each tour took up to 20 participants to places such as the wind generator manufacturer Enercon's site in Magdeburg – where guests included the Energy Minister of Madagascar, Gatien Horace – the wood-burning heating plant at Berlin-Neukölln/Gropiusstadt, or the transmission system operator 50Hertz in Neuenhagen. Californian Energy Minister Robert Weisenmiller, who also met dena’s Chief Executive Kuhlmann, was impressed by the efficiency of the grid in terms of integration of wind energy.
There was also a visit to the EUREF campus in Berlin-Schöneberg as part of the full-day 'Sustainable Mobility' tour. Companies from the energy, sustainability and mobility sectors have moved in to this five-hectare site, with its impressive gasometer as backdrop. A film team from the German Press Agency accompanied the visitors, who were able to form an impression of the latest technological developments in the e-mobility sector – and test drive an electric car for themselves.
The feedback on dena's supporting programme was positive. One frequently heard assessment was that the international dialogue that dena had helped create was a cornerstone for the success of the global energy transition – especially if it resulted in mutual trade.