EnerDigitDigitalization and the German „Energiewende” (Energy Transition) inbetween Decentrality and Centrality: Regional and Business Cultural Perspectives

Renewable energy is predominantly volatile. Wind turbines are unable to deliver energy without wind. Photo-voltaic systems depend on sunlight. In order to compensate emerging over- and under-capacities, an intelligent interconnection and governance of the vast number of producers and consumers is necessary (cf. Doleski 2017, Brauner 2016, Euroforum 2015). The “Energiewende 2.0” can neither be realized without numerous information-technological products, with complex governance and distribution systems nor integrated communication and monitoring applications – nor without smart grids. Apparently, digitalization and the “Energiewende” go together. Respectively, a digitalization of the “Energiewende” is required.

Furthermore, Industry 4.0 and the “Energiewende” are often associated with decentrality. Examples are decentral (and low-emission) production and co-creation. At the same time, such decentral formats require a notable degree of interconnection and governance. This comes along with new possibilities of (undue) influence and control.

“EnerDigit: Digitalization and the German ‘Energiewende’ inbetween Decentrality and Centrality: Regional and Business Cultural Perspectives” as a research project investigates on the interconnection and governance between industry and energy system from the perspective of centrality and decentrality. Project cooperation partners are the KWI, the Institute for Work and Technology and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

First, the project seeks to clarify the influences of the factors centrality and decentrality on a digitalized “Energiewende” (WP1). In a second step, branches and corporations, which are particularly affected by the interdependencies between ‘Energiewende’ and digitalization, are identified by means of literature and database research (WP2). Based on expert interviews, case studies and joint workshops with experts from science and practice, EnerDigit aims at developing central challenges (WP3) and practical guidance (WP4) on how to deal with the megatrend of digitalization with respect to the “Energiewende” from business side.

In this project, the KWI is concerned primarily with the analysis of the relevant branches and corporations. The focus here is on which branches are closely related to the “Energiewende” as well as to digitalization processes. Further, it seeks to develop criteria on how to identify degrees of a proceeding digitalization.