Journal //


Germany


(Essen, Karstadt, Berlin, Trausnitz)

As Europe’s leader in pretty much all sectors, Germany stands also as an energy success-story. From the old industrial region of North Rhine and Westphalia to the forests of Bavaria, passing through the streets of Berlin, we could see with our own eyes the origin of that fascination so many European countries have for the first European economy. Although Germany isn’t a frontrunner as Nordic countries, the country shows very promising results, demonstrating that being a leader does not always mean to go first.

However, this does not go without ambivalence and caveats: for instance, though the share of renewables has grown most extensively, German carbon emissions have barely decreased since 2012. In addition, the development of so-called communities and citizen energy, the usual flagship of the Energiewende is starting to slow down. And the country has a lot of other paradoxes backstage. During our almost one-month trip there, split into two, we had the chance to meet as many as nine people who taught us the ins and outs of such a state of fact.

See our video travelogue: "From University to Field Study"!
As well as our visit of an Engie hydro pump and storage installation in Bavaria.

Essen

We began our series of interviews by meeting Mr. Markus Nitschke, spokesperson of the E.ON company specialised in renewables, who presented to us the vision of his company for the future of renewables, as well as its relations with national regulations Europe-wide.

Karstadt

We then interviewed Mr. Adam Janik, Project Developer for Wind Farms in Northwest Germany for the Engie company, who provided us with a lot of insights concerning the implantation of new wind turbines in the German countryside.

Berlin

Later, in Berlin, we had a talk with Mrs. Franziska Shütze, a researcher the World Climate Forum whose research subjects tackle the connections between financial stability, energy transition and energy policies.

We met Mr. Marco Gütle, from the Bündnis Bürgerenergie, an umbrella organisation dedicated to organising, coordinating, and putting citizen energy associations and firms in relation. Thanks to him, we could have a most interesting overview of the state of citizen energy in Germany, which is far from the buoyancy we commonly hear about.

We then interviewed entrepreneur Stefan Thon, developer of IT and blockchain solutions for micro-grid management, who provided us with a very critical view of the German energy system, and on the renewable energy sector in particular.
A week after, still in Berlin, we had the occasion to exchange with Daniel Fuerstenwerth, another entrepreneur working for Engie on the development of solutions for multi-family buildings and lower-income consumers, which is a huge blind spot of the Energiewende.

We then went to Berlin’s Institute for Research in Ecological Economics (IÖW), and discussed with Pr. Bernd Hirschl on Berlin’s Climate Action Plan, and on how the city will, hopefully, implement it.

And to finish our Berlin Tour, we met with Mr. Alex Robertson, Sales Manager for Vestas for the Western Germany region, who provided us with powerful visions on the situation of wind in Germany, and on the future technological developments that are to be expected in the field.

Trausnitz

Finally, we headed to Bavaria, where we had the opportunity to visit an Engie installation of hydro-power as well as of Hydro Pumped Storage, guided by Mr. Berndt Ostler.