U.S. and German Energy Experts, State and Utility Representatives Discuss the Future of the Electric Grid

Fraunhofer CSE Launches 2018 Roundtable Speaker Sessions on Grid Modernization with “International Insights to Meet 2050 Carbon Goals” Event


© Fraunhofer CSE
Fraunhofer CSE hosts a grid modernization panel discussion on potential road maps to 2050 carbon goals

PR Newswire Release

U.S. and German Energy Experts, State and Utility Representatives Discuss the Future of the Electric Grid

Boston, MA, April 26, 2018 – The Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE (Fraunhofer CSE) launched an ongoing “Roundtable Speaker Sessions on Grid Modernization in Massachusetts” series with an event entitled “International Insights to Meet 2050 Carbon Goals.”

The event, which took place on April 25th, featured keynote speakers Katie Theoharides, Assistant Secretary of Climate Change at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), Professor Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Fraunhofer ISE) in Freiburg, Germany, and a panel discussion moderated by Bruce Mohl, editor of CommonWealth magazine.

The “Roundtable Speaker Sessions on Grid Modernization in Massachusetts” series comes at a time when state and federal governments around the world, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Federal Republic of Germany, have committed to cutting their carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. This effort, which will entail major changes in energy consumption and efficiency, transportation, building construction, and other fields, will result in a significant transformation in the way society consumes and generates electricity.  

Subjects featured during the event included potential pathways to 80 percent carbon reduction, likely phases of the ongoing transition, opportunities and challenges for interactions among the electricity, heating and mobility sectors, and how efforts to reduce carbon emissions will transform the economy.

“The framing of the 2050 carbon reduction challenge and the examples of pathways presented by Assistant Secretary Theoharides and Professor Henning were a terrific kickoff for our Grid Modernization Roundtable Speaker Sessions,” said Fraunhofer CSE Executive Director Christian Hoepfner. “Our speakers and panelists provided thoughtful commentary on what has been implemented in our two countries and expert advice about what remains to be done as the world prepares for the year 2050. With a lot of momentum regarding grid modernization building in Massachusetts, Fraunhofer CSE looks forward to continuing these speaker sessions that bring together thought leaders and industry experts.”

“Massachusetts has a proud history of being on the forefront of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and developing innovative technological, policy and renewable energy solutions to combat climate change,” said Katie Theoharides, Assistant Secretary of Climate Change at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to ensuring the Commonwealth achieves its aggressive emission reduction goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 while fostering a thriving economy and protecting residents, businesses, and local communities from the impacts of climate change.”

“Looking at Germany’s primary energy consumption, we must recognize that it is still by far dominated by using fossil energy sources, although more than one third of the electricity generation is based on using renewable energies, mainly biomass, wind and solar. This underlines the challenge to reduce GHG emissions by 80 % or more compared to 1990’s level,” said Fraunhofer ISE Director Hans-Martin Henning. “Although there is not a single pathway to achieve this target, some key pillars can be clearly identified: energy saving and increased efficiency and a much higher use of electricity in all end-use sectors including building heating and mobility. The major sources to provide this electricity will be wind and solar, i.e. volatile energy sources. Thus, a dramatic change of the overall energy system is needed to cope with the challenges involved. Detailed model-based analysis of the entire system can help us to identify needs and provide roadmaps for cost optimized transformation pathways.”

The roundtable discussion focusing on pathways to 2050 which are currently being considered in Massachusetts and in Germany—two leaders in research and energy innovation—included panelists Penni McLean-Conner, Chief Customer Officer & SVP Customer Care Organization at Eversource Energy; Patrick Haswell, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Veolia North America; Kayte O'Neill, Vice President of Regulatory Strategy at National Grid USA; and Stephen Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

Fraunhofer CSE will host the next Grid Modernization in Massachusetts Roundtable: Residential Energy Efficiency 2.0 in June.

About Fraunhofer CSE

The Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE is an applied research and development laboratory dedicated to building tomorrow’s energy future today. Our staff’s expertise in solar photovoltaics, smart energy-efficient buildings, and grid technologies provides a platform for deeply integrating distributed energy resources through collaborative R&D with private companies, government entities, and academic institutions. Fraunhofer CSE is one of seven centers of Fraunhofer USA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit contract R&D organization. Fraunhofer USA works closely with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe's largest contract R&D organization. For more information, please visit: cse.fraunhofer.org


Lindsey Dillon