On May 23rd, the Hamburg Team of e-harbours organised a Round Table on “Intelligent energy solutions for the Hamburg Harbour” in the historic harbour district of the city. Around 35 participants from industry, power suppliers, independent consultants and public institutions discussed the potentials and limitations of smart grids, demand side management and combined generation in the Hamburg harbour and beyond.
The first panel focused on potentials, markets and barriers for flexible consumers and local producers of electricity.
Thomas Breitkreuz of Vattenfall Innovation presented various pilot projects in Hamburg and the harbour, ranging from demand side integration measures in office buildings to the use of electric transport for container handling.
Next speaker was Mr Serafin von Roon, CEO of research company FfE GmbH. He presented a recently completed study on potentials and barriers for grid stabilization through demand side management, including industrial and residential consumers.
Regarding the main barriers, the study comes to very similar conclusions as the e-harbours expert team: Business cases are there, but in many cases not yet attractive and reliable enough to initiate exploitation. Plus, existing market structures are hampering the business of independent aggregators of flexible loads.
With NEXT Kraftwerke, a professional aggregator of flexible potentials was present. Speaker Lisann Krautzberger introduced their business model of a reserve capacity pool which is already up and running. Medium to large flexible consumers and producers can take part in this pool and thus exploit their flexibility without having to worry about energy market procedures. Ms Krautzberger underlined the necessity of defining a clear market role for aggregators within the energy market structure, as today several individual contracts and agreements are needed with different market players in order to exploit flexible potentials.
The second panel targeted potentials and limitations of combined concepts for the production and use of power, heating and cooling.
Peter Krabbe, Head of environmental consulting company B.A.U.M. Consult AG, argued that intelligent concepts can save substantial amounts of energy compared to traditional solutions. Additional required investments are moderate, plus government grants and low-interest loans are available, especially if high-efficiency technologies like excess heat recuperation are applied. The main obstacle, from his experience, are low awareness of energy issues in general and of the possibilities of integrated concepts. Especially for small and medium enterprises, energy plays a minor role, and in case of new investments, companies often prefer conservative solutions – a clear case for more awareness rising measures by private and public actors.
In this context, the presentation of Hamburg Port Authority’s Head of Strategy, Mr Lutz Birke, attracted a lot of attention: He introduced plans for a comprehensive energy strategy for the Port of Hamburg, titeld “Smart Port Energy”. In this strategy, many of the elements targeted within e-harbours will be picked up, like the promotion of local smart grids and shared use of CHP plants. Also, the extension of renewable energy production and use of electric transport in the harbour are goals of the strategy, which aims to produce significant results until 2015.
In the final discussion and during the talks over lunch, experts and company representatives agreed that the subject of smart energy solutions is gaining importance: With rising energy prices and reduced cost exemptions for companies on one side and increased need for grid stabilization measures on the other, business cases for smart energy solutions are likely to evolve rapidly over the coming years.