The Time is Now: Future German energy policy and the call for new ideas
After months without a government, the Grand Coalition between Social Democrats (SPD) and Conservatives (CDU/CSU) is now at work. Due to international pressure as a European industrial leader, particularly German energy policy, as outlined in the coalition agreement, is watched with scrutiny.
In the past, policy on energy and climate protection in Germany was mainly characterized by the debate around the nuclear phase-out. Now, with the exit underway and projected completion by 2022, the focal points are elsewhere.
How can we bring the era of fossil fuels to an end? How can Germany reduce its CO2-emissions and transform its energy system successfully while maintaining affordable energy for consumers and staying economically competitive?
The central projects of the Grand Coalition are clustered around the triangle of environment, safety, and reliability.
As a clear-cut goal, the expansion of renewable energy sources must be hurried in order to deliver 65% use of electric energy by 2030. Special tenders are planned to reduce 8 to 10 million tons of CO2. In addition, grid expansion and optimization is a priority to reduce redispatch and maximize the capacities of renewables for the consumers.
The focus on CO2-reduction is closely connected to the vital project of ending coal mining for electricity. This massive structural transformation is one of the biggest projects on the country’s agenda. The commission in charge will have to put heavily diverging interests at peace, live up to Germany’s climate commitment, and guide employees through change, all while staying internationally competitive.
Therefore, energy as a field of research becomes more important and focused on the transition. The Grand Coalition wants to strengthen research on hydrogen technologies, power to gas and to liquid, and especially smart storage solutions.
In conclusion, Germany’s energy revolution is dependent upon a radical openness to technology and collaboration amongst leaders, crucial conditions enabling a successful, sustainable transition and generating excellent business opportunities.
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Authored by Elisabeth Zettl, Intern, Interel Germany, and Markus Weidling, Managing Partner, Interel Germany