Hannover 96 played host to FC Schalke 04 at the HDI Arena on Thursday, 23 March 2017 for a benefit match sponsored by GAZPROM that ended in a 3-1 victory for Hannover 96. All proceeds from the match will go towards the modernization of amateur football fields in the city of Hanover.
At the initiative of GAZPROM – Schalke’s main sponsor – all proceeds from the match will go towards the PROjekt Bolzplatz campaign, which is being run over the next few weeks as part of Hannover 96’s efforts to support the city of Hanover by renovating a number of amateur football fields in the city. The campaign boasts the support of two prominent patrons – television comedian and avowed 96 fan Oliver Pocher and former member of the World Cup-winning German side and Schalke Eurofighter Olaf Thon.
“I learned how to play football on Hanover’s amateur fields, and so I’m happy to be supporting the project,” said Pocher. “Street football gives a great number of kids access to our sport, and that’s why I’m pleased that this GAZPROM benefit match is making a contribution to making Hanover’s amateur fields playable again,” said Thon.
Around 6,500 spectators attended HDI Arena to witness the debut of former Schalke coach and new Hannover 96 manager André Breitenreiter. Russian cyclist Evgeny Shalunov and teammate Dmitry Kozonchuk of cycling club GAZPROM-Rusvelo rode into HDI Arena before kick-off in what would be their first introduction to German sports fans.
“The match was a true sporting challenge for our team, but from a civic perspective allowed us to help the youth of Hanover to play football on amateur fields – and our thanks go to Schalke and GAZPROM for making that happen”, said Hannover 96 president Martin Kind.
Behind the scenes at HDI Arena, GAZPROM held an energy meeting prior to the benefit match with renowned experts from business, academia, and media. With energy journalist Heiko Lohmann moderating, those in attendance discussed the current challenges posted by the energy transition and the Climate Action Programme 2020.
“So far, we have had an electricity transition instead of an energy transition”, said Professor Georg Erdmann of the German federal government’s expert commission on monitoring Germany’s energy transition. Only in electricity, heat, and final energy generated by renewables are the targets set likely to be met by 2020. In particular, greenhouse gas emissions will require additional action to be taken. The expert commission suggests that the German federal government help German meet its targets by purchasing and revoking emissions rights. “Doing so would reduce permissible emissions levels in Europe”, said Erdmann.
Dr Christoph Müser from Baringa Partners, a management consultancy, spoke on the potential offered by digitalization. Innovation is the key driver of Germany’s energy transition, he said. “Accurately forecasting the demand, production, and storage of energy will play an increasingly important role in the future, and there is significant room for improving that analysis using digital means”, said Müser.
Dr Susanna Zapreva, chairwoman of municipal utility Stadtwerke Hannover AG, criticized that the energy transition was being driven by special interests and called for a more holistic approach. “I sometimes get the feeling that in Germany, whoever has the best lobbyists wins”, said Zapreva, who came to Hanover almost a year ago from Vienna’s municipal utility. With this in mind, the energy transition needs a broader concept that traverses specific energy carriers so as to harness the potential of existing infrastructure, she said.
The three experts agreed that Germany’s energy transition should not be left to its states, but rather treated as an international effort – and that policymakers should place increased focus on natural gas. Germany has extensive, reliable gas infrastructure throughout Germany that could be used to store and transport regenerative electricity and natural gas (biogas). In the case of the former, power-to-gas technology is used to convert renewable electricity to methane, store it, and make it transportable.