Energy Transition Award 2021 presented to utility companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland
The energy transition is gaining momentum. Utility companies have contributed through services that are enabling growing numbers of consumers and prosumers to play a role in the shift towards a climate-neutral energy system. The Energy Transition Award 2021 recognized the very best utility companies. Read on to find out more about some of them.
“It’s beginning to pop,” said Tao Krauspe, Head of Product Management E-Mobility at Repower AG from Switzerland, as he compared the increasing pace of the energy transition with a pan full of popcorn. This was the apt analogy he made when he took to the stage beaming at the EM-Power Forum to accept an Energy Transition Award in the Mobility category. The award pays tribute to companies that are already positioning themselves for the future by launching products and services for the energy transition.
Repower AG, which operates predominantly in Switzerland and Italy, is helping to ramp up e-mobility with Plug’n Roll, a full-service provider of e-mobility products and customized charging solutions. The company is currently helping DPD Switzerland to install 73 charging stations and will also take care of operation, servicing and billing for delivery partners, staff and visitors.
Municipal utilities at the forefront of the energy transition: some for the first, some even for the fifth time
Repower AG is one of 43 utility companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to have been presented with an Energy Transition Award 2021 in one of the categories of Electricity, Heat, Mobility and Energy Efficiency, or in the overarching Energy Transition category. On october 7, 15 of them accepted their awards in person at the EM-Power Forum of The smarter E Europe Restart 2021.
Initiated by The smarter E Europe, the German CleanTech Institute (DCTI) and EUPD Research, the award has been presented five times. Stadtwerke Heidelberg have been among the winners each time, on this occasion in the Electricity category. The municipal utility company stood out in particular with its photovoltaics services, such as the heidelberg Energiedach its energy efficiency consultancy and various e-mobility initiatives. Through the Energiedach service, the municipal utility plans, finances, installs and operates PV systems for its customers, who have a choice between leasing or purchasing the systems. The premium version combines battery storage and a smart home manager with a weather forecast. This enables larger consumers to be automatically switched on during lengthier sunny periods via a radio-controlled socket.
Stadtwerke Olching, from a town to the west of Munich, and a newcomer to the Energy Transition Award, was the winner in the Electricity category, demonstrating that even small utility companies can make big waves. “This award proves that all aspects of our portfolio are future-oriented – from our supply of certified green power to photovoltaics and e-mobility – and also testifies that we communicate our services clearly and transparently to the public,” explained delighted Managing Director Thomas Grulke. The municipal utility is already climate neutral and has plans to reduce emissions further. For example, it is striving to fully electrify its vehicle fleet by 2025 and estimates that 60% of its cars are already electric.
Electricity or heat – every little helps
Besides electricity, heat is integral to achieving a climate-neutral energy supply. MVV Energie AG is among the first four companies in Germany to manage just that in this category. The utility company provides its customers with numerous products and services to help them obtain heat from optimum sources. This includes advice on subsidies and financing as well as comprehensive services to support customers wishing to plan, install and operate new heating systems.
MVV is also driving forward the supply of green district heat, with over 60% of households in Mannheim already connected to the district heating network. “Our thermal waste treatment plant was connected to the district heating network in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region only last year, and up to a third of the supplied district heat is already green,” said Stephan Grimm, Lead Project Manger for “Green Heat” at MVV Energie, who accepted the Energy Transition Award in Munich. He added that the award would spur his company on even more to expand the use of renewable energy and to continue to increase its energy efficiency.
With its “Mannheim Model”, the company aims to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% compared with 2018 by 2030, and intends to become climate positive by 2040. MVV plans to achieve this predominantly by driving forward the heating transition, for example by using exhaust heat from waste treatment and biomass, sewage sludge, renewable energy like biomethane and river heat pumps. It is also focusing on new solutions in the areas of geothermal energy and industrial waste heat.
No energy transition without progress on energy efficiency
Optimum energy efficiency in the areas of heat, electricity and mobility alike is essential for making the energy transition a success. The building sector in particular harbors a lot of potential for saving energy. TEAG Thüringer Energie AG won an award in the Energy Efficiency category for the wide range of services it has introduced to help its customers save energy. Its Mein Zuhause platform provides customers with a clear and transparent overview of the numerous services available to them, such as thermal imaging surveys, building renovation roadmaps and complete packages for PV installations including storage, or for electric cars with accessories.
Newcomers meet old hands
The overarching Energy Transition category pays tribute to companies that are helping to advance sector coupling by working in all four areas of electricity, heat, mobility and energy efficiency. In 2021, the winners in this category included long-established traditional municipal utility companies as well as young, fully digital utility companies that offer consumers and prosumers services integrating them into the electricity market.
enspired from Austria and aliunid from Switzerland are two start-ups that took awards home with them for their work as digital utility companies. Established in 2018, aliunid AG works with real-time data to optimize and control energy flows. Its aim is to create a flexible, “breathing energy supply” from the power meter to the transformer and all the way to the pumped-storage power plant. When there is a surplus of energy, renewable energy can be “inhaled”, increasing power consumption in the short term and allowing energy to be stored by the end customer. When there is a shortage, electricity consumption is reduced until the local, on-site energy production system or the domestic battery feeds – or “exhales” – energy back into the grid. aliunid’s digital service enables energy suppliers, grid operators and energy producers to offer their end customers real-time solutions, making their grids more stable and efficient.
Founded as recently as 2020, enspired uses artificial intelligence to market its clients’ flexible power assets on the short-term electricity market in order to benefit from price fluctuations. EM-Power presented the company as part of its start-up series in late 2020.
One of the traditional utility companies to be awarded for its overall commitment to the energy transition was Entega from Darmstadt. The green energy supplier provides its customers with a comprehensive portfolio of renewable energy services and operates numerous plants itself, including more than 70 wind power sites, three solar parks, over 130 solar installations and two biogas plants. The company is currently working ona research project aiming to set up an infrastructure for the production and use of hydrogen at a waste-to-energy plant in Darmstadt. The objective is to construct a hydrogen electrolyzer with an output of 1 MW and a refueling station for buses and waste collection vehicles. According to Entega, the first hydrogen-powered refuse truck could be on the road in Darmstadt by 2023.
Stadtwerke Karlsruhe also received an award. In addition to supplying climate-neutral drinking water and offering green power tariffs, various incentive programs and e-mobility services, the utility company has been part of the Smart East real-life lab project in the east of Karlsruhe since early 2021. This project is transforming a mixed commercial and residential area into a smart, energy-optimized and climate-friendly district. The existing buildings are being brought into the digital age using smart meters and are being integrated into a district energy management system to combine the electricity, heat, cooling and mobility sectors and to test out new business models.
43 out of 1,800 utility companies
To identify the best utility companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for the Energy Transition Award, EUPD Research analyzes all 1,800 utility companies every year in terms of the products, services and information they offer to support the energy transition. Customer surveys provide insights into which services are particularly relevant, allowing EUPD Research to assess their importance. (SP)
An overview of all the 2021 award winners can be found here.
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