Innovation Field “Energy”

As an important energy producer and major electricity consumer, North Rhine-Westphalia faces an enormous task with regard to climate protection: Finalising the phase-out of coal and lignite while securing supply for energy-intensive industries. These tasks demand research and innovations along the entire value chain. The Synergien.NRW project bolsters strategic support for these innovations by showing how funding programmes can be skilfully dovetailed.

Biogasanlage im Rapsfeld

Adobe Stock/ Jürgen Fälchle

The energy turnaround in North Rhine-Westphalia – A mammoth task

North Rhine-Westphalia produces about 30 percent of the electricity consumed in Germany, primarily from coal and lignite. At the same time, the region’s energy-intensive industries consume about 40 percent of Germany’s industrial electricity. To achieve the targets set down in North Rhine-Westphalia’s Climate Protection Act, a dual challenge must be mastered: On the one hand the challenge of implementing the coal phase-out by 2038 and on the other hand that of securing a safe and inexpensive power supply for energy-intensive industries at home in the region, which at the same time must also decarbonise raw materials and heat.

Innovations in the energy sector – The key to success

Research and innovations in the three priority areas of electricity, heat and transport can make energy sources available at competitive prices which are for the most part free of CO2.

The small and medium-sized enterprises and the large companies in the energy sector in North Rhine-Westphalia have long been pursuing innovation paths that lead to energy efficiency, renewable energies and sector coupling. Within North Rhine-Westphalia’s dense network of universities and research institutes, new ideas are born and the corresponding technologies developed.

With its networks in all fields to do with energy, the EnergyAgency.NRW has brought together research and innovation stakeholders for over 20 years in order to foster exchange among them and support new solutions. The EnergyResearch.NRW cluster networks research and innovation stakeholders for new research and innovation projects.

As of 1 January 2022, the Government of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia is bundling its activities in the areas of energy and climate protection in its new agency NRW.Energy4Climate. Further information on this new agency can be found under

Many research and innovation stakeholders already make successful use of European research funding as well as the support mechanisms of the national government’s Energy Research Programmes. North Rhine-Westphalia supports regional consortia in their research and innovation activities and in the development of new and globally competitive products and services with resources from the European Regional Development Fund.


So that innovations are developed more quickly and efficiently and can thus be introduced into the market earlier as new products and services, already existing know-how and all sources of funding must be used in an even more targeted manner. This is where the Synergien.NRW project comes in, showing ways how EU research and innovation funding can be dovetailed with regional funding – for example from the ERDF – and how results from energy research can be put into practice.