Even though Frauke Thies only started her job a few weeks ago, a kind of typical daily routine has already emerged. During the day, the week is packed with appointments, meetings and events with decision-makers and researchers from the energy and climate sector. In the evenings, she tries to spend time with her family.
Since July 1, 2022, Frauke Thies heads Agora Energiewende in a dual leadership role with the previous managing director Markus Steigenberger. The position had become vacant after the think tank’s longtime head, Patrick Graichen, moved to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as State Secretary.
As environmental scientist and economist, she brings a wealth of experience gained over more than ten years working for various organizations in the climate change and energy sectors. Most recently, she managed the climate protection portfolio of the Open Society Foundations in Europe. Previously, she was, among other things, managing director of the European business association for digital and decentralized energy solutions, smartEn, and policy director at Solarpower Europe.
Strengthening European work from Brussels
At Agora Energiewende, Thies will now strengthen the think tank’s European work. To this end, she works primarily in the Brussels office. Frauke Thies knows her way around here: She has lived in the Brussels area for years – with her partner and three children.
Agora is in dialogue with people from politics, science, business and civil society to advance climate neutrality in Germany, Europe and worldwide. “Ultimately, we are concerned with shaping politically implementable solutions,” says Thies. The experts develop scientifically sound analyses and seek discussion with affected stakeholders to identify what the key steps toward climate neutrality are, what framework conditions are necessary to achieve them, and what measures can further accelerate the transformation.
Due to the current political situation, however, the experts in the think tank are currently focusing on measures to get through the energy crisis responsibly. These include concepts for gas savings in households and industry, for example, via heat pumps. “Climate protection and energy security go hand in hand. We are working to ensure that the solutions currently being discussed in Germany and Europe make sense in terms of climate policy,” says Thies.
Environmental engagement since school days
The topic of climate change and the environment has occupied Frauke Thies since her school days. At that time, the nuclear phase-out was a big topic. When she was still in school, she went to demonstrations and organized events on the topic of nuclear energy. At the University of Lüneburg, where she studied environmental sciences, she organized a lecture series on the topic of transformation, with speakers from science and business.
However, delving into topics is not just something Thies does in her professional life but also in her private life. In her free time, she enjoys discussing things with friends and having long conversations. If there is still some time left in the evening after her youngest child has gone to bed, she likes to pick up a good book. It can even be something entertaining: “I’m a pretty non-discriminating reader,” she says and laughs. Sarah Tekath