3 October 2016

German cities introduce ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’

Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany have embarked upon a project to achieve a fully sustainable energy supply after hitting 2025’s renewable energy targets nine years early.

The Northern German cities, with a combined population of 4.5 million people, have already achieved Germany’s ambitious targets of obtaining 40 per cent of their energy from renewables on an annual basis.

Both cities now aim to hit 70 per cent renewables by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2035, using the “NEW 4.0” project initiative to do so.

According to the report, “NEW 4.0 is a unique project initiative in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein combining the forces of business, science and politics.”

‘NEW’ stands for the Norddeutsche Energie- Wende (Northern German Energy Transition) and ‘4.0’ refers to the “brink of the fourth industrial revolution: the digitisation of industry resulting from the smart networking of systems, an increasingly important component in the energy transition.”

As a large-scale transnational project, the aim of NEW 4.0 is to achieve a sustainable energy supply, ensuring the future viability of the region.

More than 60 regional and trans-regional partners have formed an “Innovation Alliance” combining all necessary competencies and solution potentials to accelerate the energy transition in Northern Germany.

This alliance will invest around €90 million over the next four years. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will put in another EUR 44 million.

Committed partners include Trimet, Aurabis and ArcelorMittal – Hamburg’s three largest energy-consuming enterprises – as well as grid-operators, energy suppliers and educational institutions.

Dr. Werner Beba, Head of the Competence Centre for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency (CC4E), said: “As part of the overall venture we will be coordinating a total of 101 individual projects. The partners of our Innovation Alliance will be developing projects aimed at improving flexibility, load transfer and storage.

He added: “The novelty of our venture lies in merging all these components via communication and network technologies and operating it under the roof of one overall system, which is yet unprecedented.”

Germany’s emissions are already 20 per cent below the 1990 emissions benchmark set by the Kyoto Accord and the NEW 4.0 is expected to reduce the region’s carbon dioxide emissions by a further 50 to 70 per cent.

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