High-ranking California energy delegation tours Germany to discuss energy and climate challenges with their German counterparts

“This was an important opportunity for two frontrunners – Germany in Europe and California in the U.S. – to learn from each other, as well as to explore possible new avenues of collaboration on tackling our pressing climate and energy challenges.” Angelina Galiteva, Founder of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and Governor of California Independent System Operator

A distinguished delegation of energy experts and regulatory leaders from California was in Germany this week to discuss with their German counterparts how to advance ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, while adapting the distribution and transmission grids to increasingly high penetrations of renewable based power generation.

The tour was the latest in a series of dialogues on energy and climate issues between California and German leaders that have been spearheaded in the last year by the non-profit Renewables 100 Policy Institute.

Messe Duesseldorf

From Left to Right: North Rhine-Westphalia’s Environment Minister Johannes Remmel, Renewables 100 Policy Institute Board Chair Angelina Galiteva, Fraunhofer ISE President Prof. Dr. Eicke Weber, Operating Managing Director at Messe Düsseldorf Hans Werner Reinhard

The body of delegates on the trip included Stephen Berberich, CEO of the state grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO); Robert Weisenmiller, Chair of the California Energy Commission (CEC); David Olsen, CAISO Governor; Carla Peterman, California Public Utilities Commissioner; David Hochschild, Environmental Commissioner at the California Energy Commission; and Michael Picker, California Public Utilities Commissioner. The main trip organizer from the Renewables 100 Policy Institute joining them was Founding Board Chair Angelina Galiteva, who also serves on the CAISO Board of Governors. Renewables 100 Policy Institute’s Media and Outreach Director Matthias Bank also attended and documented the trip for a report that will be released later this year.

California Keynote Panel:
Robert Weisenmiller, Chair of the California Energy Commission (CEC); Michael Picker, California Public Utilities Commissioner; Carla Peterman, California Public Utilities Commissioner; David Hochschild, Commissioner at California Energy Commission

CALIFORNIA Keynote Panel

The tour began with meetings with grid operators and industry leaders at the Energy Storage Europe conference and exhibition in Duesseldorf, which was organized by Messe Duesseldorf and took place from March 25-27, 2014. The delegation participated in a panel discussion on the first day of the conference entitled “The State of Energy Transformation in California, Building a Carbon-Free Future.” In addition, several side meetings were co-organized by the Renewables Policy Institute, Messe Duesseldorf, and the Global Energy Storage Alliance to discuss the role of energy storage in addressing specific technical grid implementation issues and regulatory frameworks necessary to integrate additional renewable energy technologies into grid operations. Experts who met with the delegation include International Energy Agency (IEA) Director Didier Houssein, Fraunhofer ISE Director Prof. Dr. Eicke Weber, and several senior level representatives from German federal Ministries. More information about the conference can be found here.

The tour wrapped up with high level political and industry meetings in Berlin on March 27-28, which aimed to address parallel changes occurring in both California and Germany that profoundly impact energy policy, regulations, and grid operations, including nuclear power plant retirement, rapidly increasing renewable electricity generation, advancement of electric mobility, and climate change. These meetings were organized in coordination with the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (ISE). The group met with, among others, top ranking officials from the BMU and UBA, as well as Parliamentarians. The delegates also toured demonstration projects of renewable energy, electric mobility, energy storage, and grid solutions at innoZ, EUREF, Younicos, BMW’s Leipzig facility and others.

German tour 2014 - UBA-4
German tour 2014 - UBA-3

Dr. Harry Lehmann, General Director Sustainable Strategies at German Federal Environment Agency