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Impulse #21: A strong future through partnerships

30 April 2024

Many things work better together. For Niklas Wiegand, this applies in particular to the municipal heat transition: In the new "Impulse", our CEO Energy Solutions explains why the ENGIE Deutschland team is focusing on long-term partnerships with municipalities and cities for a climate-neutral future.

ENGIE Deutschland is the strong partner for cities and municipalities: We contribute our many years of experience in decentralized generation to decarbonization

Everything is new in May, as we say in German? Well, it's not quite like that, even though I'm only introducing myself here today. My name is Niklas Wiegand. I joined the Management Board of ENGIE Deutschland GmbH in November 2023 and have also held the role of CEO Energy Solutions since January 2024. I previously worked at the Bilfinger Group for several years, including as Head of Germany, and helped shape the restructuring and transformation process from a construction group to an industrial services provider. In my new role at ENGIE Deutschland, I have already gotten to know many of our customers, partners and employees personally. I am particularly pleased about the opportunity to enter into a more intensive dialog with you through the Impulse format in our Zero Carbon magazine. Let's talk about ways to achieve climate neutrality together!


Partner for climate neutrality in industry and cities

Speaking of talking: Perhaps you are wondering how my start-up phase at ENGIE Deutschland has gone? No question, the past few months have been exciting for me and characterized by interesting encounters and innovative projects. In view of the current political and economic developments, there could hardly be more challenging market conditions. That's why I'm delighted to now be working with the entire ENGIE Deutschland team to promote a green future. After all, sustainability is the central issue of the present - but for us at ENGIE it is much more than that. We have long seen it as our mission to optimize the energy efficiency of buildings and plants, to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and thus to accelerate the transition to climate neutrality for the economy and society. In this sense, we see ourselves as the decarbonization partner of industry and cities. Because regardless of whether they are municipal utilities, municipal facilities or neighborhoods, the goal of a climate-neutral future is no less challenging for municipalities and cities than it is for manufacturing companies. Like many others, ENGIE Deutschland is currently focusing heavily on the issue of future-proofing our municipal energy landscape. That is why I would like to share my thoughts with you today.


Mastering municipal heating planning together

There is now a consensus that the municipal heat transition is an enormous task for cities and municipalities. However, there is no consensus on how to tackle this challenge. The pressure to act has been great since the GEG amendment (Building Energy Act) in the fall of 2023 and the obligation for around 11,000 cities and municipalities to have a municipal heating plan by 2028. The unanswered questions on the part of those responsible are often no smaller. Our team is in dialog with many municipal utilities and municipal suppliers throughout Germany. In these discussions, we find that there are three fundamental challenges in particular: A lack of know-how, personnel capacity and budget. In recent years, municipal utilities have focused on being self-sufficient in terms of generation. We are currently seeing a trend reversal - and in my opinion, this is exactly the approach that is needed now. Changing framework conditions and increasing complexity in the heat supply require a new willingness to take risks and a redistribution of roles and tasks. We need partnerships to give the German energy transition a tangible boost and achieve a sustainable future. Ultimately, everyone involved will learn and benefit. In our view, climate neutrality is best achieved together.


Best practice: Cities on the way to green heat

ENGIE Deutschland is a reliable partner, because decentralized generation has been our core business for decades. In Germany alone, we operate around 100 of our own heating networks and hold stakes in four municipal utilities. We are now increasingly applying our combined practical experience to the decarbonization of cities and municipalities. One thing is clear: the earlier our experts are involved, the more targeted and efficient our advice and support can be in terms of energy management, technology and/or finance. We are implementing a project of this kind in Tettnang in Baden-Württemberg, for example: As part of a long-term partnership with Regionalwerk Bodensee, we have founded Wärmeversorgungsgesellschaft Tettnang GmbH and will jointly construct a local heating network with a capacity of 2,200 megawatt hours. The contract also includes an energy supply contracting (heat) with the town of Tettnang for a period of 20 years. Initially, several public buildings will benefit from a heat supply from 100 percent renewable energy. In future, this is to be extended to adjacent residential and commercial areas. In other words, we are providing the urgently needed expertise, capacity and budget.


All-round carefree package for cities and municipalities

This example illustrates how a partnership of equals makes otherwise unrealizable projects possible - a cooperation for the future. In addition to providing advice, we support our customers in all matters relating to the implementation of their municipal heating plans. We come from the field and have extensive experience in operation. And with a breadth and depth of added value that hardly any other service provider in Germany can offer. In addition to many years of construction and operating expertise, our portfolio includes heat pumps from ENGIE Refrigeration, local solar power from photovoltaic systems from Solarimo and solutions for shallow geothermal energy from geoENERGIEKonzept. In short, from a technological perspective, ENGIE Deutschland covers all aspects of the energy transition and can manage its complexity. This means that our customers receive an all-round carefree package - from consulting to all components of implementation. We summarize our approach in what we call the "3 Cs" model: We are on the job with competence, cooperation and creativity. And we want to provide municipalities and cities with intensive support on their decarbonization path - in order to successfully master the heating transition together as partners and ultimately contribute to the success of climate protection targets. This is what I work towards every day in my role as CEO.


Dear readers, how do you feel about the partnership model for a green future? Or do you, as a city or municipality, have a specific query that you would like advice on? Then my team and I will be happy to assist you. You can also contact me by e-mail or LinkedIn. I look forward to hearing from you!


Niklas Wiegand
CEO Energy Solutions of ENGIE Deutschland

Our Expert

Niklas Wiegand
Regularly, Niklas Wiegand, CEO Energy Solutions of ENGIE Deutschland, shares his view on current topics in our column Impulse.

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