With all its cosmopolitanism, 50Hertz still has deep local roots – this goes for the new Netzquartier building in the heart of Berlin as well as for the regional centres in the eastern and northern parts of Germany. At the local level, we are primarily active in three areas: Youth and social issues, energy and environmental education, and culture. During the 2016 reporting period, we spent around EUR 600,000 on sponsoring and donations.
In the surroundings of our new 50Hertz Netzquartier building, we see ourselves as a good corporate citizen who actively contributes to making the new residential and working district Europacity attractive to its residents. Our day care centre “Energiebündel” welcomes not only children of our employees but youngsters from the neighbourhood as well. We are planning a number of arts events in cooperation with the museum Ham-burger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart (Museum for Contemporary Arts), which is part of the Berlin National Gallery, in our headquarters for the summer of 2017. Our “Kunstraum 50Hertz” (Art Room) will be the venue for presenting outstanding works by students of various art academies in our grid area to a broad public outside of the university. This gives talented young artists a platform for getting a foothold in the professional arts scene, making valuable contacts and pursuing their careers in the arts.
We consider concrete education of children and adolescents about the energy transition to be of great importance. An interactive exhibit called “Energie gemeinsam wenden” (Changing energy together), developed by 50Hertz and the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (Un-abhängiges Institut für Umweltfragen e.V.)in late 2012, playfully teaches students of the fifth and sixth grade about different aspects of the energy transition. They can visit learning stations to find out what it means in practice to transition the electricity supply of a country from fossil to mostly renewable energies. The exhibit also illustrates the extensive involvement of different participants in grid expansion, showing that set goals can only be achieved through dialogue and that, sometimes, compromise is unavoidable. The interactive exhibit was awarded the title of Project of the Decade “Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung” (Education for Sustainable Development) by the German UNESCO Commission. During the reporting period, more than 40 school groups with about 1,000 students visited our exhibit in Saxony-Anhalt alone.
Another interactive example is our cooperation with the platform Mundraub.org, which was established in 2014 and has been continuously ex-panded since. In addition to meadow orchards around Berlin that were established as part of compensatory measures for aisle construction, we created the nature trail “50Hertz-Entdecker-Wiese” (Discovererʼs Meadow) in 2015. We conduct tree pruning seminars in our meadow orchards and carry out environmental education courses for school groups, our staff and their families all year. To date, we have hosted eight events for 50Hertz employees and school groups with a total of 165 participants. In the autumn of 2016, we also had a joint apple harvest. We picked more than two tons of apples and turned them into 1,500 litres of regionally produced apple juice.