Implementing the German Energy Transition in the Field of Sustainable and Competitive Economic and Industrial Structures in North-Rhine Westphalia

  • Project no.150190
  • Duration 06/2016 - 05/2017

Implementing the German Energy Transition ("Energiewende") requires a fundamental change of all economic sectors from an energy system dominated by fossil fuels towards a system which is widely based on renewable energies, reaps energy efficiency potentials and is characterised by sustainable consumption patterns. Such a transformation of the German energy system may trigger innovation processes and, thus, come along with economic opportunities. However, it also poses tremendous systemic challenges to the German society, policy-makers and economic sectors. Those challenges require a fundamental change of industrial infrastrutures - both technical and non-technical infrastructures. On the one hand, technical elements of the energy system need to be optimised which includes an improved system integration of renewable energies, combining energy flows for improving energy efficiency (industrial symbiosis) and modernising industrial production processes. All these steps require substantial innovation of the concerned companies as well as of energyintensive and manufacturing industries. At the same time, non-technical infrastructures, such as framework conditions for innovation processes within companies and in politics, need to be adapted to the transformed energy system.

The outlined technical and non-technical challenges of the industrial transformation process especially apply to the state of North-Rhine Westphalia - the most densly populated state in German with a high concentration of energy and industry infrastructures. This research project aims at working on the aforementioned challenges with focus on the industry state North-Rhine Westphalia. It analyses future potential for industrial value creation and shall, for selected branches and business fields, develop transformation objectives and strategies. A particular focus will be on energy cooperations among industry companies and small companies or private households (prosumers) as those seem to be well suited for realising energetic and economic synergies.