The first German-Caribbean Energy Conference was held on November 27, 2018, at the Renaissance Convention Center in Oranjestad, Aruba. The event was facilitated by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs & Energy, the Duits-Nederlandse Handelskamer and Middelstand Global Energy Solutions and supported by Energie Waechter, the government of Aruba, and CINEX.
The promotion of smart and sustainable energy solutions in Germany for many years has resulted in the establishment of an industry which offers some of the world’s leading know-how and technologies. This industry encompasses several thousand small and medium-sized enterprises specialized in the development, design, and production of renewable energy systems, energy efficiency solutions, smart grids, and storage technologies. Also, new energy technologies like Power-to-Gas and fuel cells are the basis for cutting-edge energy solutions.
During this event, the attendees could glimpse into the energy solutions that were created in Germany. The event started with a video message from the prime minister of Aruba, Mrs. Evelyn Wever-Croes, who emphasizes on the importance and benefits of renewable energy and the need to seek a balance and ensure that the cost of energy remains affordable. The energy system should be sustainable, reliable and affordable. The balance between these 3 components should be engineered very carefully. The role of the government in this process is very important. The government of Aruba is open for exploration of natural gases in Aruban waters and innovation in the energy sector. However, when dealing with new technology, the successfulness of products should be measured with trial and error through pilot projects. If successful, these pilot projects could lead to larger deployment.
The Minister of Education, Science and Sustainable Development of Aruba, Dr. Armando Lampe offered some welcome words to the German delegation and attendees of the event. He discussed the importance to look into new technology and save the planet with the use of renewable energy.
Dr. Falko Brede, Delegate of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy welcomed all attendees on behalf of his Ministry. He also talked about the significance of the conference. The conference is the beginning of the mission of German companies to look into opportunities in Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire. The goal is to move away from fossil fuels and more into reliability on renewable energy. Germany started with the promotion of energy efficiency and the use of renewable since the 1990s with the promotion of wind energy. Today 33% of the energy used in Germany comes from renewable. Germany is in the process of de-carbonizing itself to reach a 100% use of renewable energy. Even though there are challenges in integrating the technical requirements of Wind and Solar energy, Germany has experienced the lowest shortages (outages) in the last years.
Sebastian Jasim, representative of the German Renewable Energy Federation presented Energy Solution- Made in Germany and discussed innovative energy systems based on renewable energy. The transition from nuclear-based energy like fuels, natural gases and hard coal to renewable energy is a top priority in Germany. However, the technology of tomorrow does not work with the rules and regulations of yesterday and change is necessary. The basic principle of using renewable energy from Wind and Solar is simple: charge it, store it and use it. This opens the door for off-grid solutions that are so important, especially for those countries in the hurricane zone. He also mentioned an interesting report- the IRENA report on Sustainable Islands.
Up next, four German companies, FEW GmnH, EnergiEffecte GmbH, Sinn Power GmnH, and BAE Batteries GmbH were pitched by their representatives that provided insights into the products they offer.
The FWE GmbH is a spin-off of the Fickert & Winterling Group and specializes in project development in the field of renewable energies. Since its foundation in 2016, the company has focused on holistic and sustainable solutions such as circulation systems and aquaponic systems for catfish rearing. These aquaponic systems embody innovative solutions for the combined production of fish and plants in material cycles without soil. Furthermore, FWE Energy Solutions developed the BiogasTiger BiogasTiger’s, a biogas installation which puts an emphasis on the use of substances which are at the end of a supply chain and would otherwise be wasted.
EnergiEffekte is a German project consultant in the field of renewable energies, specializing in the biogas segment. The company offers worldwide support on biogas installation taking care of contracts, process management, auxiliaries/additives, technical optimization, biological optimization, cleaning of digesters, monitoring/maintenance of your gas measuring devices.
SINN Power GmbH is a German High-Tech startup founded in 2014, which developed floating Wave Energy Converter (WEC). This patented technology uses wave energy to supply people on coasts all over the world with cost-efficient, reliable and easy-to-install renewable electricity from ocean waves. The company developed two systems: Wave energy converter (WEC) arrays and Wave energy converter (WEC) modules. Wave energy is considered to be the strongest and most reliable renewable energy source available on earth. The WEC works best in a hybrid grid, combined with storage and backup diesel gensets and possibly other renewable energy sources like sun or wind.
For more than 120 years BAE Batterien GmbH (BAE), located in Berlin, has been specializing in the production of industrial batteries. Its core business is the production of lead-acid batteries for stationary applications such as emergency power supplies for data centers, hospitals, power supply systems, and telecommunications equipment. BAE also produces batteries for rail and industrial trucks. With its photovoltaic solutions, BAE has become an important player in the field of renewable energy and contributes to a smooth and environmentally friendly energy supply, including the field of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Its solar batteries are used for renewable energy applications such as photovoltaic systems, both as hybrid and stand-alone systems. System sizes and applications can be very diverse.
By the end of the companies’ presentations, there was a short Q&A session.
Darick Jones, CEO of Aqualectra, discussed the new energy policy of Curaçao and the vision of Aqualectra in regards to the new energy policy to contributes to building a Smart Nation. Already in the works are buy-backs of solar energy from buildings with solar panels and the use of wind energy. And the upcoming fleet of electric cars by Aqualectra personnel that will make use of several charging stations that will be built across the island. Aqualectra is committed to investing in improvement.
Johannes Hegger, HHS planer, and Architekten AG provided insights into energy-efficient building designs as an island solution to produce more energy. The event ended with a network reception and a cocktail party.
The conference provided insights into several renewable alternatives that we can work on and support. There is a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs to work with international parties that have the same goal of achieving a higher level of use of renewable energy. The World Bank is a great supporter of projects in this area. The time is now to update rules and regulations and to start working on those projects based on renewable energy sources.