Essen’s green energy cluster
Structural change is particularly evident in Essen, a city in the Ruhr area with 590,000 inhabitants. Environmental protection and green tech play a particularly important role in the city which was awarded the title of “European Green Capital” in 2017. “When it comes to developing new ways of energy production or technologies for improved energy efficiency and storage, you can’t beat Essen,” says Andre Boschem, managing director of the local economic development agency (EWG).
Essen is home to the listed power utilities RWE, E.ON and Innogy – companies that were heavily impacted by the Energy Transition. They are all working hard on their future positioning. Innogy, for example, has set up a real-world laboratory for energy system transformation in Essen and is aiming to make a neighborhood fossil- fuel-free. They are joined by SMEs from the energy sector and renowned research institutions who are all driving the development of new technologies and working on solutions for sustainable energy production. This energy cluster offers a vibrant ecosystem for investors. One outstanding example is the joint venture between the German electricity producer STEAG and the Swedish energy digitalization expert NODA, which was launched in 2018 with a remit to use district heating more efficiently. The Ruhr region also hosts the important “E-world energy & water” trade fair every year.