The 53rd Energy Dialogue at the Reichstag discussed the status quo and the need for future reform of the German ‘Energiewende’. The panel discussion was held in Berlin on October the 17th, 2014, at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Friedbert Pflüger, Janusz Reiter and Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP).
The President of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), as well as the Chief Technical Officer of the Municipal Utilities of Magdeburg, Mr. Johannes Kempmann began proceedings by welcoming the recent merger involving the German Ministries of Economy and Energy, the two main authorities responsible for the Energiewende. Conscious of the need for reform, he identified the newly-introduced auction model and the direct marketing of renewables, as decisive steps in the right direction. However, Mr. Kempmann complained that the initial aim of the Energiewende – the reduction of CO2 emissions – has taken ‘a back seat’ in the current debate, and that too little effort is being made to improve energy efficiency in the transport and heating sectors. Furthermore, he noted that the current grid is unstable, due to the increasing share of renewables in the energy-mix, whilst incentives for the expansion and improvement of this energy grid remain a key regulatory challenge and capacity mechanisms are urgently needed.
The President of the Central Association of the German Electrical Engineering and Electrical Industry (ZVEI), and Chief Operating Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Management of the Endress+Hauser Group, Mr. Michael Ziesemer, also strongly welcomed the rapid expansion of renewables in the German market and the public’s continuing support for the Energiewende.
Mr. Ziesemer emphasised the employment of more market-based mechanisms, the preservation of exemptions for energy-intensive industries, and the formulation of a clear trajectory for the expansion of renewables as the central positive achievements of the EEG: in his opinion, the Energiewende offers up more chances than risks. Mr. Ziesemer also pointed out that about 80% of companies within the electric power industry identify with the goals of the overall reforms, but only 2% believe that the Energiewende is managed effectively. Mr. Ziesemer agreed with Mr. Kempmann that more investments into the expansion of the grid are needed, and that better co-ordination is necessary: modern reserve capacity has to be developed in order to complement the integration of renewable energy sources.