Since 2014, IKEM has collaborated with the Brandenburg-based energy provider ENERTRAG on a range of topics – from the expansion of renewable energies to the development of new concepts for community and citizen participation. After eight years of close cooperation on energy transition projects, the organisations still have ambitious plans for the future.
The collaboration began when IKEM and ENERTRAG recognised a problem with the existing policies regulating the power sector. ‘We realised that the current energy market regulations, which were designed to establish a perfectly integrated European internal market, don’t accommodate regional approaches or offer solutions that would introduce renewable energies into all economic sectors through sector coupling,’ said Simon Schäfer-Stradowsky, IKEM’s managing director. ‘And because IKEM focuses on practice-oriented solutions and believes that good ideas can have a positive impact, we thought: why don’t we change something about this situation? ENERTRAG was immediately on board with that idea.’
The result of this shared insight was the launch of innovative new initiatives, including the Lokale Energie platform. Using the platform, IKEM, ENERTRAG, and numerous other partners can determine how to scale up regional value chains for the energy transition and develop ideas for green electricity use that will benefit the region. So far, the platform’s greatest success was the Grünes B (‘Green B’) study, which examined how Berlin could supply its own green electricity by tapping into renewable energy produced in Brandenburg. The findings of the study are already being translated into practice, for example by companies on the EUREF Campus in Berlin.
The study’s success is further evidence of one of IKEM’s key strengths, said Tom Lange, who heads the department responsible for developing ENERTRAG’s wind and PV projects in Germany. ‘IKEM does an excellent job of identifying economic needs, developing recommendations for courses of action based on those needs, and then communicating their recommendations to companies and politicians,’ he said. ‘That’s one reason why ENERTRAG has continued to expand its partnership with IKEM over the years and has been active on IKEM’s advisory board since 2019.’
H2 Platform Lusatia was another product of this collaboration. ENERTRAG and IKEM worked with regional partners to create the platform, which supports the hydrogen economy in Lusatia, an area straddling the border between Germany and Poland. ‘Our many years of work and practical commitment on the ground are paying off,’ said Schäfer-Stradowsky. ‘Our ideas and projects have helped integrate power-to-X, regional green electricity and hydrogen into political discourse – and even into the coalition agreement.’
ENERTRAG and IKEM bring complementary strengths to the partnership, which is the key to their successful collaboration, said Schäfer-Stradowsky. ‘Since the very beginning, ENERTRAG’s wealth of practical experience has dovetailed nicely with IKEM’s academic expertise,’ he said. ‘Together, we’ve developed innovative ideas for the next steps in the energy transition.’
ENERTRAG also recognises the value of this complementary relationship. IKEM has been ‘a strong and reliable partner in our joint efforts to establish regulatory conditions that make it possible to implement energy transition projects successfully,’ said Lange. ‘As a non-profit institute, IKEM looks for solutions that have a positive impact – not just in terms of their economic effects, but also in terms of their implications for society and the climate. That’s one of the reasons we’re so pleased to support their work, and it’s why we look forward to many more opportunities to collaborate with IKEM in the future.’