What does a sustainable energy transition look like? How do we design an energy system that meets our needs safely and affordably, without burdening the climate and destroying the environment? Which technologies will we use to conserve, generate, transport and store energy? How can we make the transition socially fair and accepted by citizens? How can we improve the security and sustainability of our energy imports?
Learn from each other, support each other, find answers together
Germany is not alone in facing these questions – industrialised countries all over the world are in the same situation. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is seeking talks with partner countries in order to develop solutions together, to learn from one another and to explore opportunities for cooperation. adelphi has been providing support for these efforts in the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand since 2016. During this time, the experts at adelphi have developed and implemented numerous dialogue formats, organised conferences and workshops and accompanied groups of specialists from all countries on trips. Cooperation has deepened, despite changes in government and global developments, and initial discussions have turned into regular dialogues and, in some cases, close partnerships. The BMWi has now renewed the contract for these six cooperative partnerships.
Raffaele Piria, Raffaele Piria, Co-Lead Energy at adelphi, sees this as a vote of confidence: “Since 2016, adelphi has played a role in Germany’s energy cooperation with these six countries on behalf of the BMWi. We are pleased to have this contract extended for the next few years for all of these countries. Our energy cooperation team has fully earned this trust with its broad specialist knowledge, its extensive networks in Germany and the partner countries, as well as its talent for the development and implementation of dialogue formats of all kinds, from public conferences to digital formats and confidential bilateral discussions.”
Close cooperation through ups and downs
The discussion partners have changed again and again, whether through new elections, a reshuffle in the relevant ministries or a shift in focus. adelphi’s team remained constant and was always looking for new points of contact. Even when Donald Trump showed little interest as the American President, that did not affect the intensity of the dialogues – instead, the accents shifted. Piria notes: “In the years of the Trump presidency, Washington was not very willing to talk, so we expanded our dialogue with selected states, electricity system operators and civil society actors from the USA. Given that Chancellor Merkel and President Biden announced the establishment of a bilateral energy and climate partnership, there will be a lot to do in the coming years in the dialogue with the federal government.”
One official energy partnership has already emerged from the talks with Canada. Piria is looking forward to the opportunities that will arise not only for Germany, but also for the global energy transition: “The German-Canadian energy partnership was formalised in early 2021. Canada wants and has the potential to become a major exporter of climate-neutral hydrogen. Great opportunities could arise for Germany. What drives me personally is the chance to enrich the energy transition debate on both sides of the Atlantic through exchange.”
Carbon reduction around the globe
Due to their proximity to the Antarctic ozone hole, Australia and New Zealand have already had unfortunate experiences with environmental problems. As the world’s second largest exporter of thermal coal, however, Australia is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Franziska Teichmann, Senior Manager in adelphi’s energy team, sees the energy partnership as an opportunity to open up an alternate path for Australia, one from which both countries can benefit: “We have had an energy partnership with Australia since 2017, which adelphi has supported and promoted through BMWi projects. Particularly due to the momentum in the hydrogen sector, attention has increased significantly, and Australia is widely spoken of as a potential hydrogen supplier for Germany. This is a priority for us currently.”
In doing so, however, Teichmann does not want to lose sight of other aspects. “There is also a lot of potential for cooperation in the area of energy efficiency,” she says, “and the existing sub-working group identifies opportunities for cooperation” with Australia as well as with New Zealand. For Teichmann, these dialogues are key to the global path to sustainable energy and climate protection: “Personally, I find bilateral energy partnerships and dialogues very important in order to advance global decarbonization and I am therefore delighted to be leading this project for adelphi.”
Different countries, similar challenges
Gunnar Will, Co-Lead Energy at adelphi, emphasizes the similarities between the partner countries, even if at first glance they seem very different from Germany. Japan and Korea are far away geographically, for example, but like Germany, they have strong, export-oriented industries and a population that is used to an energy-intensive standard of living. In order to meet this high energy requirement without further damaging the climate, they are looking for joint solutions, says Will: “Germany, Japan and Korea are all facing the enormous challenge of making their highly industrialized societies climate-neutral in the near future. This will require international partnerships. Through the energy partnership, the three countries can share their common experiences, discuss possible solutions and initiate joint pilot projects. We look forward to playing a major role in this exchange in the years to come. “
The goals are ambitious, but adelphi’s energy team agrees: cooperation makes everyone stronger. It is therefore pleased to continue to support the BMWi’s energy dialogues, cooperations and partnerships in the future.
Talks continued despite the pandemic: A screenshot from the 11th German-Japanese Environment and Energy Dialogue Forum with Gunnar Will, adelphi; Kazuya Monden, Hitachi, Ltd.; Roman Sieler, adelphi; Laura Siepmann, Bosch Corporation. Copyright: adelphi