At the heart of our network: the REH forums
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Sharing ideas on current issues and initiating contacts – the REH forums provide the ideal environment for networking within the REH Cluster Agency. There are currently eight REH forums on the following topics: media, financing & law, international, sector coupling, solar, heat, hydrogen and wind. A further HR Forum is planned for 2023. The International, Sector Coupling and Wind Forums celebrated their premieres in 2022.
Video production, social media and employer branding – the Media Forum, which was established in 2011, held four meetings to discuss recent developments. While Raphaela Ebelt, Logistik Initiative, Diane Vrielmann, Vattenfall, and Joseph Piergrossi, DESY, provided insights into their companies’ social media strategies, the two reporters, Kai Eckert and Daniel Hautmann, described the perfect relationship between press officer and journalist. Florian Schöps, RenderThat, and Matthias Wolk, Real TV Group, revealed the secrets of successful video production. The newly founded HR Forum celebrated its premiere during a joint session with the Media Forum in November on the topic of employer branding.
Financing & Law Forum
The Easter Package, Renewable Energy Act 2023 and Offshore Wind Energy Act were the focus of the first meeting of the Financing & Law Forum. Dr Ursula Prall, Becker Büttner Held, and Dr Thorsten Müller, Stiftung Umweltenergierecht, were the speakers. Two joint sessions with the Wind Forum each addressed the amended Federal Nature Conservation Act and surplus revenue absorption.
At the inaugural meeting of the relaunched International Forum in September, Sibyl Scharrer, International Cooperation Hydrogen, and Jingkai Shi, International Cooperation Renewable Energies, presented the results of the REH member survey conducted during the summer. Following a year-long break, the forum met at the REH member, Carneades Project Services GmbH. Attendees were interested in markets such as Sweden and Finland for wind energy and southern Europe for solar power. Future meetings will focus on different countries and forms of renewable energy.
Sector Coupling Forum
If we want the decentralised energy transition to be a success we must adopt a cross-sector approach. But how can technologies, infrastructures and markets be meaningfully coordinated and what role can digitalisation play in this? The new Sector Coupling Forum and its steering committee members, Sarah Debor, Naturstrom, Onnen Heitmann, Hamburger Energiewerke, Bastian Pfarrherr, Stromnetz Hamburg, and Roman Fritsches-Baguhl, Averdung Ingenieure, focuses on these issues. Its first meeting discussed the compatibility of low-voltage electricity grid infrastructure and the upcoming roll-out of heat pumps.
Opportunities and challenges for solar expansion on commercial sites, difficulties with PV expansion among homeowner associations and balcony power plants – the Solar Forum and its four working parties – housing sector, public property, industry & commerce (including open spaces) and private applications – addressed current issues in the revitalised solar industry in 2022.
The REH Cluster Agency has commissioned Hamburg-Innovation GmbH to conduct a study on solar potential in the Hamburg Metropolitan Area. The evaluation will be written by Hamburg University of Technology. The results of the study will be available during the first quarter of 2023 and presented at the Solar Forum.
The Wind Forum celebrated its premiere at Patriotische Gesellschaft at the end of June, when its steering committee members, Prof Peter Dalhoff, HAW Hamburg, Norbert Dwenger, Nordex Acciona, Jens Heidorn, NET OHG, and Carina Würz, The German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation (Stiftung Offshore Windenergie), introduced themselves. At its first regular meeting, participants discussed the amended Federal Nature Conservation Act and effects of the expansion of onshore wind energy with experts, Dr Dirk Sudhaus, Fachagentur Windenergie an Land, and Karsten Brügemann, Nordex Acciona. At its third meeting in cooperation with the Financing & Law Forum, surplus revenue absorption and onshore wind tenders were on the agenda. Offshore issues will be the focus in 2023.
In 2022, we experienced a huge energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine – which emphasised the importance of heat transition more than ever. Five meetings highlighted a broad range of topics and their urgency. In March, the focus was on the Wedel and Tiefstack coal-fired power plant projects until 2030. At the second meeting, attendees discussed cooperation opportunities between Hamburg’s Department of the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture Authority (BUKEA) and its Energy Transition Advisory Board. The agenda also included the gas crisis and its consequences for the heating market, the Wilhelmsburg integrated heating transition project and combined heat and power production.
Dr Steffen Bechtel succeeded Constantin Lange as the Forum Chair, who established the new Wind Forum. There was another change of personnel on the forum’s steering committee, where Sebastian Averdung, Averdung Ingenieure, who was elected Chair of the Energy Transition Advisory Board, was succeeded by Burkard Warmuth, Hamburger Energiewerke.
REH research activities during 2022
Networking and sharing ideas with Hamburg’s universities and non-university research institutions are a central part of the Cluster Agency’s activities.
REH supported and sponsored two research events, namely the symposium at the Northern German Ministerial Conference (“Norddeutsche Ministerkonferenz”) of the Hamburg Energy Research Association (“Energieforschungsverbund Hamburg”) and the NEIS Conference hosted by Helmut Schmidt University. REH was entirely responsible for organising the location for the conference and helped the Hamburg Energy Research Association to design the programme and the event format. In addition to fascinating specialist presentations and panel discussions, the symposium at the conference also included a comprehensive overview of research funding policy and statutory framework conditions.
REH attended three Hamburg Energy Research Association meetings involving universities and Hamburg authorities. There is also ongoing cooperation in the form of regular monthly meetings to coordinate current activities. REH continuously presented research content in various formats. For example, Frauke Kasting and Ariane Korn, TUHH, presented the practical ‘Fishing for Experience’ programme at the Heat Forum. REH participated in the North German Research Group, Heat led by HafenCity University, HCU.
During the second quarter, REH organised a round table meeting with research representatives to discuss support services. It became clear that targeted corporate networking should be the primary aim. REH subsequently conducted a survey among member companies to evaluate research needs and networking formats. Based on the survey results, targeted networking formats will be available in 2023, for example in the form of workshops.