Young, creative ideas for a new energy future: ideas workshop regarding the security of supply for Bavaria and Austria.


Students at the Technical University of Munich are working on the key question of "How can Bavaria and Austria guarantee security of supply in the new energy era together".

Together with the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich or "TUM"), ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA and the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, VERBUND organised the "Ideas Workshop" on the energy future, which was attended by chosen students and experts. 24 students developed their ideas for issues concerning energy technology and the energy industry of the future, and spent an entire day grappling with problems in the grid, hydropower, energy storage and electricity market design sectors. The students thereby sought to find solutions, which they then brought to light. Accompanying the students were eight energy policy and economics experts from Bavaria and Austria. On 1.12.2014, the results were presented at the energy congress to Bavarian Minister of State Ilse Aigner, the Austrian Federal Minister and Vice Chancellor, Reinhold Mitterlehner, as well as further representatives from politics and economics. The presentation was followed by a discussion.

The issue of energy supply security, particularly in the electricity sector, is increasingly moving into the foreground of the current debate concerning the energy future. The abandoning of nuclear energy and the rapid expansion of renewable energies in Germany demands a fundamental reorganisation in the supply of energy. These and other developments bring about massive changes on the electricity market – with consequences for the security and affordability of electricity supply. A secure and affordable energy supply represents an important backbone for every successful business location. Bavaria and Austria’s close ties have always made an important contribution to cross-border supply security. On 1.12.2014, a high-level Bavarian-Austrian energy congress in Munich dealt with the challenges of supply security.

Fresh and creative approaches
In the run-up to the Bavarian-Austrian energy congress, 24 chosen TUM students processed four concrete problems in work groups: grid expansion and smart grids, market organisation, hydropower and energy storage. The participants sought to find unconventional and practical solutions. The proposed solutions developed at the Ideas Workshop were subsequently presented at the energy congress on 1.12. in the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology and discussed live with Minister of State Ilse Aigner, the Austrian Federal Minister and Vice Chancellor, Reinhold Mitterlehner, and further representatives from politics and economics.

During the Ideas Workshop, "(re)searchers" developed their proposals in four groups. Experts from Bavaria and Austria’s energy policy and economic sectors accompanied the students, who thrashed out their ideas with freshness, dynamism and drive and presented them among the participants at the Ideas Workshop. They were clearly thrilled by the possibility to be able to grapple intensely with the energy future, and to do so with the support of energy specialists.

Stephan Pröller (30) is taking a doctorate in physics at TUM and considers the format to be very interesting: "I find the workshop’s methodology very exciting. I was in the hydropower group, and we dealt with the role of hydropower for the future of supply security. Since I am very interested in the energy field, I wanted to participate in the Ideas Workshop at all costs. An exciting theme in the Ideas Workshop is that of approaching problems from diverse angles and the way in which expert knowledge is contributed. We were able to work without constraints."

Grid expansion essential for the energy turnaround
Kilian Andres Escayola (20) is in the 5th term of mechanical engineering studies at TUM and has been interested in renewable energy, energy systems and storage since the 10th grade: "My participation in the Ideas Workshop was thus clear for me. I am going to write my thesis on the area of energy production and storage." For his further studies and career path, he is taking on board the current challenges for future engineers, the demands of the energy turnaround and the complexity of the energy system. "I participated in the grid expansion group - an enormous subject, which turned out to be surprisingly important to me and which is essential for the energy turnaround if it is to be advanced at all. The Ideas Workshop exceeded my expectations and I am very satisfied about this extremely informative day."

Electricity will always be a present in our lives
Qingxin Yan (25) from China is studying energy and process technology in the 3rd term at TUM and participated in the electricity market design group: "I am better acquainted with market design today and have seen the problems with which we will be faced in the future. This is not merely of interest to me professionally, in other words for my studies, but indeed privately too. For electricity is always present in our lives." She considered the Ideas Workshop to be "cool", but would have liked even more time because she would have liked to delve even further and longer into the issue of the electricity market. "I have already attended a project on the subject of decentralised electricity production and its influence on the price of electricity. That’s why I also wanted to participate today."

Nothing in the world works without electricity
Teresa Kiechle (21) is studying mechanical engineering at TUM and was thrilled by the Ideas Workshop: "In the context of the "Design Thinking" methods, you immediately get an insight into the important aspects, even if you are not an expert." Kiechle applied because she is especially interested in the energy future, as regards contents, and also privately: "Indeed, nothing on earth works without electricity. It’s super that students of interdisciplinary studies are able to enter into discussions with experts from the energy industry." By means of the Ideas Workshop, Kiechle was able to gain new insights and generate ideas within the group. She considered it to be a stimulating process; the bridging of Austrian and Bavarian aspects was particularly exciting.

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