Smart City Hamburg: Energy Digitalization
How will we live in the energy future? And where does Hamburg stand in terms of digitalizing the energy transition? Those were the topics discussed at the debate on May 24, organized by the energy and IT company LichtBlick and WWF. The event was held at LichtBlick’s new offices in the Afrikahaus building, where the energy and IT company has been developing and marketing its innovative products for the international energy transition for several months now.
Trends for the Digital Energy Transition
Eberhard Brandes, CEO of WWF, and Heiko von Tschischwitz, CEO of LichtBlick, discussed three key issues at great length with an interesting range of trendsetters, Hamburg Senator for Environment and Energy Jens Kerstan, and 50 invited guests from Hamburg politics, local authorities, companies, and associations.
The Intelligent ‘SchwarmHaus’
Intelligent world of electricity: Christian Appel, Head of Research and Development at LichtBlick, introduced the 3E apartment building research project. With solar panels on the roof, a ‘ZuhauseKraftwerk’ power unit, batteries and two electric vehicles just outside, 30 people are already living with the energy of the future in this building. Integrated into the electricity market via ‘SchwarmDirigent®’, the building can sell excess electricity when it’s required in the grid. Immanuel Lütjohann, one of the residents, was also there. “Nothing has really changed,” he says. “We still get our electricity from the socket and there’s just as much of it as before. But there’s something about using and storing the energy generated on the roof yourself that feels a little different. It’s just a great feeling.”
More Than Just Electric Vehicles
Intelligent mobility? Digital transportation transition vs. real urban planning: Professor Knie, Head of the Innovation Centre for Mobility and Societal Change (InnoZ) in Berlin and transportation researchers praised Hamburg for its bicycle rental system, which is the most successful one in the world. According to Professor Knie, “using rather than owning,” be it cars or bicycles, is the future, particularly when it comes to urban transportation. Simply replacing gas-powered cars with electric vehicles isn’t going to solve the problem, even if we’ve managed to make a lot of headway in the energy transition. Professor Knie believes that the transportation transition is still a long way off in Hamburg and Germany, which is why he recommends an electric vehicle act (EVA). In line with the German Renewable Energy Act, private owners of electric vehicles powered by green energy would offer carpooling, which they would be reimbursed for by the local public transportation operator. The process would be organized on a platform and could contribute to the transportation transition.
Energy in the sharing economy: Harald Neidhardt, transportation entrepreneur, predicts even more acceleration and digital transition in the next five to ten years. In his opinion, local authorities and public offices are unable to cope with the speed of the changes. Many initiatives designed to optimize the digital infrastructure in Hamburg and link companies have never really gotten off the ground. People, on the other hand, have made progress, taking advantage of the opportunity to influence digitalization. But what a consumer-driven sharing economy might look like in the energy segment remains to be seen, though it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing any electricity sharing platforms any time soon.
The energy industry is also taking advantage of digitalization and developing products for a world of 100% renewables. The relationship between centralized and distributed, between energy producer and consumer, and between electricity supply and internal consumption is still evolving.
The future promises to be exciting.
LichtBlick and WWF are confident that a swift transition from fossil-nuclear power to renewable energies in the electricity, heating, and transportation sectors will provide the essential foundation for climate protection, a low-risk energy supply, and Germany’s competitiveness in the decades to come. We want to pool our strengths and together accelerate the energy transition. You can find more information and energy transition references on our shared website.