Esther Hardi worked as innovation manager at the grid operator Alliander, created her own company SDG Energy, which devotes itself to the energy transition and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the business and energy sector, and is also director of the local renewable energy company Energy Cooperation 2030.nu.
Illustration : Esther Hardi
Nominated by: Ludwig Karg, B.A.U.M Consult GmbH
The engagement, activities and achievements of Esther Hardi since about 25 years revolve around promoting the energy transition at the European level as well as the local and regional levels. Taking a glimpse at her career, it is clear that boosting the energy transition and the manifold challenges associated with it are at the heart of Esther’s intrinsic interest and actions.
Esther graduated as MSc in Technical Mathematics and Technical Physics at the Technical University in Delft and recently completed the Executive MBA at the Rotterdam School of Management in Sustainable Business Strategy and Sustainable Finance. After an international career, Esther joined the energy trading company Nuon/Vattenfall and later the grid operator Alliander, where she worked as innovation manager and strategist. As innovation manager she initiated innovations and successfully aligned partners to realize low carbon energy projects and as strategist she developed new ideas for new markets and accelerated the developments in the moving energy market. Thematically, Esther has particularly pioneered in biogas injection in the gas grid and renewable sustainable energy supply in the Netherlands. She currently focuses her work on her own company SDG Energy, which devotes itself to the energy transition and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the business and energy sector, as well as on her work as director of the local renewable energy company Energy Cooperation 2030.nu, which realizes renewable energy production projects and organizes local participation in the area between Amsterdam and Utrecht.
In addition, Esther has taken various positions in commissions and councils on European, national, local and regional level, including the co-chair of ETIP SNET Working Group 4, board member of the local initiative Klimaatcoalitie Stichtse Vest and vice president of the initiative Next Generation Infrastructure.
With this, Esther brings a rarely seen wealth of experience as well as practical and professional knowledge: she knows the energy system from the perspective of the big utility, she knows the innovation paths of the EU and national administration and she knows the concerns and expectations of the energy customers.
Coupled with her enthusiastic and sympathetic nature, these qualities make Esther a personality the energy transition in Europe needs!
Esther has demonstrated her ability for out-of-the box thinking, developing convincing and creative visions and developing (technical) solutions to work towards her vision inter alia in her work as manager of the “green gas programme” at Alliander. Esther planned, implemented and monitored several sub projects aiming at developing efficient ways to distribute biogas to millions of consumers across the Netherlands. One outstanding project was the “BioGrid” project in which she developed the sector-changing innovative design BioGrid/BioNet, which through the newly designed injection and monitoring system for renewable biogas now allows customers to make use of locally produced biogas in as sustainable process. The success of the newly designed technology was ensured by Esther’s commitment to solving institutional issues and coordination with partners, including formulating and reaching an agreement for regulatory conditions to inject green gas into the national natural gas grid as well as securing alignment and commitment of the process industry and installers to develop new products and create new markets.
This example demonstrates that as a hardworking visionary Esther has the full picture and understands how to create the circumstances that allow for driving innovations fast forward.
The following examples demonstrate some of Esther’s long-standing and out-standing contributions to the energy transition in the Netherlands and beyond:
->Strong impact on the energy transition on the local level through the utilisation of renewable energy sources as well as positive social effects through raising awareness on energy-related topics.
For more info: https://2030.nu/polder-nijenrode/
->Strong impact on economic development, including job creation, as well as utilisation of renewable energy sources and promotion of rational use of energy.
For more info: https://www.entrnce.com/energy-markets-experts
->Biogas injection was game changing for the monopoly in gas supply. At that time (in 2007) there was no appetite for renewable gas and new producers.
If you want to learn about Esther, you should run a workshop with her! I have had the pleasure several times. At first, I was impressed by her calmness and her planned approach to the task. Then I was amazed by her professional knowledge: she knows the energy system from the perspective of the big utility, she knows the innovation paths of the national and EU administration and she knows the concerns and expectations of the energy customers. In our ping-pong game on the virtual stage, she was a valuable co-moderator for me, who always knew how to address the central issues of the energy transition with her great expertise, while at the same time giving the panellists enough room to develop.Ludwig Karg