"WindNODE is a story of doing things together, transcending federal-state boundaries and individual interests," said Project Director Markus Graebig at the start of the event, backing this up with examples from the project. He hoped that WindNODE's legacy would be that people could have the courage and desire to view the transformation to a 100% renewable-powered future as an opportunity.
This opening gambit was followed by three keynote speeches by members of the Steering Committee coordinating the WindNODE consortium. Dr Dirk Biermann (50Hertz) demonstrated WindNODE's importance in preparing for the recently formulated strategy From 60 to 100 by 2032 and announced that 50Hertz would continue to work with reliable partners towards this goal within the newly created '100% Alliance'. Dr Frank Büchner (Siemens Energy) emphasised the value of cooperation in a large, industry-led consortium and reminded the audience of the wide range of innovation projects promoting the use of flexibility in industry that were launched as part of WindNODE. Thomas Schäfer (Stromnetz Berlin) explained how the energy transition was conceptualised and tested across all grid levels in the WindNODE project, and how the smooth cooperation between transmission and distribution system operators had been particularly successful.
These talks were followed by nine 'elevator pitches', briefly presenting the highlights of the respective workstreams (WSs). From a presentation reminiscent of an audio book to a German TV news-style report, the WS coordinators found very different but, above all, creative ways to share their core messages.
The second half of the event was opened by State Secretary Andreas Feicht from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), who spoke about how WindNODE and the other showcase projects served as a beacon for energy-system transformation. He stressed that all the SINTEG showcases had developed differently, making the interactions between them all the more valuable. Immediately afterwards, there was a panel discussion involving State Secretaries Andreas Feicht, Hendrik Fischer, Dr Gerd Lippold, Olaf Möller, Klaus Rehda and Christian Rickerts, moderated by Juliane Hauskrecht. There was consensus on the fact that the need for action on the regulatory framework (CO2 pricing, the EEG surcharge and the grid-fee system) was a key finding of WindNODE/SINTEG and one that had already been integrated into the political decision-making process. The State Secretaries also agreed on the main benefits of WindNODE. It had, for example, created a valuable network which, with its clarity of focus and concentration on specific issues, had met with a lot of goodwill and support. WindNODE had also made energy-transition projects feasible and tangible and, by acting as a driving force, had significantly increased the visibility of this issue in the outside world. Moreover, looking ahead, there appeared to be a great deal of interest in the 100% Alliance and willingness to support it and, associated with this, also the right atmosphere to move the relevant issues forward across national borders.
Juliane Hauskrecht and Markus Graebig brought the final conference to a close, with Severin Beucker from the Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability joining the conference as a surprise guest to offer a vote of thanks on behalf of all the WS coordinators.
Thank you very much to all the organisers, speakers and, of course, the many participants who made this short yet highly informative and successful final conference possible. We hope to see you again soon!