Energie Impuls OWL is a private, independent, non-profit network, with over 100 active members, including companies, universities and other NGOs. They are based in West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia). Next to regional and national projects, they also participate in international projects due to their European connections. The organization and its members have been successful in increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources for 20 years. Energie Impuls OWL’s main goal is to provide and coordinate knowledge to facilitate the transition to green energy and sustainability. To achieve this goal, they promote the increased use of future energy sources and help to develop them in cooperation with our partners. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the organization? Energie Impuls OWL: Our network is the connection point between the civil society, industrial partners, politics, research projects, regional networks, and regional energy companies. Through networking, we offer our partners an environment with a lot of potential for innovation and a high knowledge transfer between the different sectors. As we are not afraid to try out new things, we initiate pilot projects and offer our expertise through consulting services. We organize conferences, network committees and initiatives in collaboration with consultants, scientists, and business enterprises. Together, we develop research questions and business projects, for example on efficient energy usage and the development of circular value creation. Green building solutions and educational projects for the youth as well as adults are also part of our work. Through our connection to universities, companies, and the Association of German Engineers (VDI), we create training opportunities for the next generation of skilled workers. We need new ideas and innovations for the sustainable and efficient use of future energies! E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new directions? Energie Impuls OWL: In the following some of our projects for this year are listed. THENOVA is a theater-based-training project and the GoBeEco project imparts an environmentally friendly lifestyle to adults through gamification. Our goal through these Erasmus projects is to gain new knowledge and tools for further education. CirQuality is also a big project that we will approach this year. With the method of circular economy, we can further develop our region as a sustainable business location. We open up additional quality potential for products and services by going beyond efficiency to achieve positive effects for people, nature and the economy. FlexiEnergy deals with the research about cross-sectoral planning of energy networks (i.e., integrated consideration of electricity, gas, district heating, and mobility). It offers the opportunity to exploit synergies between different energy sources. Making energy systems more cost-efficient and lower in CO2 emissions, as well as to ensure the stability of networks in the future is what we aim for. Our new youth project is about encouraging the younger generation with their criticism, creativity and strength to interfere with the realities of the companies with appropriate career choices. We want them to realize their ideas for climate protection and sustainability as an expert. It is important that we offer our future generation a good professional guidance for their individual career choices. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? Energie Impuls OWL: Due to the energy transition more and more citizens get involved with renewable energies. Citizen’s electricity tariffs for residents living close to wind turbines are up for debate. This would allow residents to benefit from reduced electricity prices, which leads to an increasing interest of society in the expansion of renewable energies, especially wind turbines. A lot of companies discuss to become climate neutral; some already initiated the change. For that reason, green electricity is on a rise. This could lead to a shortage of green certified electricity. New technologies with reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, are needed. The urgency for these products is immense. The life span of materials and machines must be expanded for a better climate balance. A great tool for lengthening the product life span is the competence of the circular economy. The demand for these products is already there, but the technologies and products need to be disseminated, further developed and invented. The 2020 EU Waste Framework Directive tightens the regulations for recycling and the associated calculation method. These laws will ensure that the circular economy is increasingly needed for reaching the goals of the regulations. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021? Energie Impuls OWL: Trained staff and experts are very important to push climate neutrality in companies forward. Nevertheless, the shortage of skilled workers is a huge problem for the industry. So, it is essential that we arouse the younger generations interest in these much-needed professions. We want to highlight the huge variety in career-paths in terms of climate protection. More and more companies want to compensate their emissions, as it is an important part of the way to a climate neutral company. Often this is done through projects abroad, which goes along with the global responsibility each company has. Still, the focus of the compensation measures will also become more meaningful in the own country, as it would help the local environment, community and also improves the company´s image. The call for a good flexibilization of the energy system with suitable tools is becoming louder. Flexibilization of the players in the system is necessary to be able to guarantee supply security efficiently. Both, individual consumers, and companies are looking for instruments, so that the overall system can respond better to the weather dependency of sun and wind. The rising usage of renewable energies poses new challenges for both the grids and the markets, which need to be addressed.