The German Energy Agency, or dena for short, is an independent company in which the federal government owns a 50 percent stake. By its own account, it is a “center of excellence for energy efficiency, renewables and smart energy systems,” although it had focused on centrally controlled supply under the management of its first director, Stephan Kohler. In 2011, attempts were made to include more innovative, decentralized technologies through launching the Power to Gas Strategy Platform alongside partners from science and business. Since then, dena has organized an annual conference on the topic (see Reinventing the Energy Grid). H2-international spoke with the current managing director of dena, Kristina Haverkamp, about power-to-gas and the company’s priorities.
H2-international: Ms. Haverkamp, for two years you’ve been one of the two managing directors of dena, the other being Andreas Kuhlmann. What work arrangement do you have?
Haverkamp: Mr. Kuhlmann and I collaborate closely in directing the company. But, of course, we each have different areas that we focus on. While he is primarily in charge of managing dena’s activities portfolio and strategic direction, I oversee mainly corporate communications and administrative tasks as well as the divisions on transport systems and international cooperation. My experience in European business and environmental policy has served me well in this capacity.
H2-international: Where do you see your focus?
Haverkamp: The transformation of the energy market is really an exciting, high-profile project and dena is playing a key role in its implementation. We’re looking at the entire infrastructure and provide an important contribution to meeting the energy and climate policy targets of the German government by bringing politics and business closer together. We make it possible to have a more inclusive dialog at home and abroad, develop strategies to meet demand and present concrete examples of how we can successfully transform the market. I see my most crucial task as one of advancing dena’s objectives in these areas in collaboration with Mr. Kuhlmann and our entire staff.
Stephan Kohler, dena’s first managing director, went into consulting after leaving the company. His temporary replacement was Ulrich Benterbusch between October 2014 and July 2015. Andreas Kuhlmann used to work for the German Association of the Energy and Water Industries before he became managing director of dena in July 2015. Kristina Haverkamp joined the company as second director in October two years ago.
H2-international: In 2015, dena’s Power to Gas Strategy Platform gave politicians detailed recommendations for action. The most important item on the agenda now and then: a fast implementation of the EU regulations revised in 2014 through the German act on limiting air and noise pollution. But nothing has happened since then. Could you tell us why?
Haverkamp: That’s not entirely true. There has been some progress toward implementation and we’ve already seen the first results from it, such as the introduction in May of the 37th federal regulation on limiting pollution levels. It ensures that power-based renewable gases can count toward the GHG reduction quota, meaning that businesses who are subject to the quota can purchase hydrogen or synthetic natural gas produced through power-to-gas to fulfil their minimum CO2 reduction target.
More progress is in sight: The 38th regulation is being debated in the department as we speak and is expected to be passed by the federal cabinet this summer. It sets a minimum alternative fuel target for 2020, which will rise incrementally by 0.5 percent as per the EU Fuel Quality Directive. This sub-quota is intended to guarantee the use of alternative and innovative fuels such as hydrogen and SNG from power-to-gas.