Dr. Walter Steinmann, Head of the Advisory Board

Dr. Walter Steinmann, Head of the Advisory Board

A few days ago, I returned from e-world in Essen, a trade show that celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. It was originally conceived as an event for European electricity and gas distributors, who could meet here face to face once a year rather than communicating by telephone and fax alone. These were very merry encounters, with admission cards to the parties as sought after as admission tickets to the trade show itself.
Dr. Walter Steinmann
e-world and the energy sector have changed radically since then. The IT sector has made major inroads, with increasing numbers of hardware providers in evidence at the venue. Large and small IT booths from SAP to Adesso are as much in evidence as Siemens, ABB and all the other major names. Providers of wind farms and infrastructure enterprises in the gas sector were the first to appear in recent years, followed by major management consultants, law firms and co-financing banks. Increasing numbers of startups are now added to the mix.

Practically an entire hall is dedicated to exhibits of the products and services of young entrepreneurs under the auspices of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. In addition, on the e.on and Innogy stands (to name but a few), presentations are held by startups with which leading enterprises in the sector have begun to cooperate. A few years ago, it would have been inconceivable for a self-assured firm such as e.on/Ruhrgas that is powered by engineering talent to contemplate cooperation with clever little Swiss startups such as Enersis or Adaptricity.

The Powertage event in Switzerland is making similar progress. Born of close cooperation with professional associations in the electricity industry, it is increasingly becoming a meeting place for the entire energy sector. The concept of decarbonisation, decentralisation, Power-to-X, hydrogen production and sector coupling as components of a new holistic system is attracting ever more sectors and industries as well as universities and startups.

The fact that this year's Powertage event also showcases innovative energy and cleantech startups is most gratifying. Winners of the xplor Competition are offered their own free exhibition booth, and their innovative products are revealed in an attractive light to a broader industry audience through communication and marketing measures.

I am looking forward to experiencing a wealth of impressive innovations at first hand at the Powertage trade show in June.