Shortly before Christmas 2017, decision makers from the Midwest in the USA and Canada took the opportunity to come to Germany and get a feel for the many different facets and recent developments of German energy policy. The group consisted of US representatives from Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin, as well as Canadian members of the legislative assembly from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. During the tour, participants were able to meet and engage with representatives from federal ministries and agencies, municipalities, the German parliament, think tanks, as well as businesses and embassies.
The five days were filled with discussions and presentations by experts spread across a number of fields, allowing the participants to gain a broad understanding of the economic, technological and societal changes taking place in Germany in the context of the Energiewende. A special highlight of the tour was its focus on an integrated energy transition (sector coupling) with a focus on Power to Gas. Further items on the program were the following:
- Overview of the historic, societal and political background of the energy transition in Germany, by Katharina Umpfenbach, Senior Fellow, Ecologic Institute.
- Discussion with Thorsten Herdan, Director General, Energy Policy and Dr. Falk Bömeke, Deputy Head of Division, International Cooperation on Energy at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
- Briefing at the Canadian Embassy and the U.S. Embassy.
- Introduction to the integrated energy transition and Power to Gas, with Andreas Kuhlmann, Chief Executive, Christoph Jugel, Director Energy Systems and Jeannette Uhlig, Senior Expert Integrated Energy, German Energy Agency (dena).
- Visit of the ENERTRAG hybrid power plant, with Robert Döring, Head of Energy Policy and Press Officer, ENERTRAG.
- Dinner Dialogue with R. Andreas Kreamer, Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), about managing structural change resulting from the low-carbon transformation.
- Meeting with Johann Saathoff, Member of Parliament, Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and visit of the Reichstags glass dome.
- "Lunch and Talk" at the invitation of the Federal Foreign Office.
- Meeting and discussion with Holger Lösch, Deputy Director General, Federation of German Industries (BDI), about the business perspective of German energy transition.
- Introduction to the power utility EWS Schönau by Tanja Gaudian, Press Officer, EWS Schönau.
- Presentation and discussion with Klaus von Zahn, Head of the Environmental Protection Department, about Freiburg Green City - the environment as an economic factor.
- Visit to Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and overview of research in renewables and hydrogen technologies
- Site visits in Freiburg and the district of Vauban guided by Craig Morris, Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS).
- Visit of Freiburg Green Industry Park Pfizer with Michael Manfred Becker, Director Global Engineering and Peter Neske, Senior Manager Stakeholder Relations.