Energy Industry and Application Oriented Energy Technology
1. The Sector in NRW
North Rhine-Westphalia is Europe's most modern and most significant region when it comes to energy. Nowhere else does this industry, either in relation to consumption or supply, play a greater role in the local economy. Furthermore, the contribution to local economic success made by North Rhine-Westphalia suppliers and users of new energy technologies and energy services, as well as by the region's energy research and energy technology development, is unparalleled elsewhere in Europe. Almost no other region in the world has knowledge and experience in the energy sector comparable to that accumulated by NRW over the last 150 years.
At the same time, North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany’s top energy producer. It supplies 30 % of Germany's power, and approx. 40 % of Germany's industrial power supply is consumed here. 83 % of German mineral coal and 55 % of German lignite are extracted in NRW. 250,000 people were employed in the energy sector in 2007.
NRW is not only home to international power suppliers, pipeline gas distributors and power plant constructors, but also to major industrial users with energy-intensive production facilities.
NRW is committed to ensuring that its power-generation industry is guided by the principles of economy and the need to secure energy supply, as well as the necessity of protecting the climate and environment. Appropriate action is taken to safeguard the uninterrupted supply of power at all times, to reduce the detrimental impact of power generation on the environment, the climate and on resource supplies, and to ensure energy supply and consumption remains economical for both producers and users. Climate protection is already given high priority in NRW, as exemplified by the good position achieved by this region in the sphere of renewable energy. This was confirmed in a recent study by the International Industry Forum on Regenerative Energies (IWR) in Münster, which reported at the end of 2007 on the situation of the renewable energy industry in NRW. Their total turnover amounted to around 5.5 billion euros.
NRW Energy Clusters and Energy Innovation Competition
The successful development of enterprises, particularly in the energy sector, is only possible if all those active in this sector, (in politics, industry, research, finance) work together in networks (clusters). The activities for the development of NRW as the leading energy market are bundled into two clusters – the Energy Research cluster (see www.cef.nrw.de) and the Energy Industry cluster.
With its cluster fields, the Energy Industry cluster forms a platform for the collaboration of companies, scientists and key municipal players right along the industrial value-added chains. The aim is to maintain the position as top energy producer in future and to raise NRW's international profile as a centre of excellence for energy.
The promotion of key projects in the area of industry-related development takes place via innovation competitions.
For the energy industry cluster, eight cluster fields have initially been named:
2. Aims and Tasks of Cluster Management
The main task of Cluster Management is the networking of key players in the energy sector all along the added value chain. NRW must continue to be the most important energy producer in Europe in the future. The national and international position of NRW as an energy producer as well as the competence and excellence of the sector must be reinforced. Here, the following cluster field topics will be dealt with first: power plant technology, fuel cells and hydrogen, biomass, energy-efficient and solar construction, fuels and power sources for the future, photovoltaics, geothermal energy and wind power. The Energy Industry cluster bundles NRW firms and research facilities. It offers the partners concerned an exchange platform for information, communication and cooperation. Its activities concentrate on encouraging innovation processes in NRW, initiating cooperations and strategic alliances and accelerating the market introduction of innovative products, both nationally and internationally. By the further development of existing strengths and the identification and adoption of new trends and developments, strengths and core competences are to be developed into market successes. Another task is to develop a clear communications strategy. Press and publicity work are therefore among the important tasks of the Energy Industry cluster. In this way, the profile of the Energy Industry cluster is to be raised – both nationally and internationally.
Management of the Energy Industry cluster is the responsibility of the EnergyAgency.NRW, so its networks and partners will continue to provide the basis for cluster work in the future. The Management of the cluster Energy.NRW has experts at its disposal who are committed to engaging with the key players in industry and research. This is also how the coordination with the EnergyResearch.NRW cluster takes place. This cluster is also managed by the EnergyAgency.NRW.
3. Main Areas of Work for the Energy Industry Cluster
Main areas of work, projects and networks on the eight cluster field topics: