Here answers to frequently asked questions:
-What will you say are the disadvantages and benefits of the Energiewende?
Benefits are that Germany will reduce energy imports, and will therefore be less vulnerable from fossil energy price shocks or delivery disruptions. A further advantage is that the costs for renewable energy decline. Energy efficiency improvement drives innovation and reduces energy costs. Both are competitiveness advantages. Stock exchange price for electricity is very low, and the number of jobs in the renewable energy sector increase. Disadvantage might be that the Energiewende is complex, it is an open heart operation.
-What kind of challenges are for the moment the most important for the Energiewende?
We need more grids and storage, and the management of the process needs to be improved. Especially we need smart distribution grids, a better load management and the energy security of renewable energy needs to be improved by a better combination of individual renewable energy (“virtual power plants”) and more storage options in the future. Norway offers important hydro storage, we need Norway for the Energiewende. And we need more energy savings, energy efficiency improvement in the buildings and mobility sector.
-Why was it correct for Germany to start the Energiewende?
Because Germany does not want to be too dependent on nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Germany is very vulnerable because it needs to import a lot of energy. Fossil energy costs increase, costs for renewable energy decline. Germany´s promotion of renewable energy was the best thing we could do for the international market.
-What will the Energiewende costs, by 2050? And how much will be spend on subsidies?
What will it costs if we do not do the Energiewende? Germany spends 100 Billion a year for fossil fuel costs. German has spent more than 200 billion in the last decades for subsidies of nuclear and coal. Costs for renewable energy decline, costs for nuclear and coal increase.In Germany the majority of power plants are old and need to be replaced, as well as the grids. 22 Billion Euro is spent for the investment in renewable energy and creates adding value and new jobs. We use the window of opportunity in order to innovate the energy system.
-When you look at the traditionally strong German industry and energy companies like Siemens, Eon, RWE and Vattenfall for instance, what kind of challenges do they meet, and where they adaptable enough when the changes started. Which companies do you think will succeed?
It crucially depends how much they are willing to invest into the new, innovative markets. RWE recently confirmed that they have invested into the Energiewende too late and now are suffering because of this mistake. Siemens clearly benefits from the Energiewende as they are investing in all parts of the Energiewende as for example wind energy, energy efficiency or storage. E.on focuses on gas which is needed in the mid term as well.
-When you look on the energiemix in Germany by 2050, 80 percent will come from renewable sources. What do you think this will mean for the necessity for oil and gas, but also coal, of course, in Germany and Europe ?
Fossil fuel will be more and more replaced by renewable energy and energy efficiency. Oil and gas is needed in the buildings and mobility sector. In both areas energy efficiency will play a dominant role. If we manage in Europe to improve the emissions trading system soon, the use of coal will be reduced as well.
-With reducing needs for oil and gas for energy use in Germany, what kind of effect do you think this will have on Norwegian oil and gas companies, which have Germany as their most important market in Europe?
The most important future Norwegian market for Germany will be renewable energy as hydro energy and storage. As oil and also gas is finite in Norway, the Energiewende will be most important market for Norway in the future.
-And last but not least: What kind of criteria are the most important to make the Energiewende succeed?
The whole energy systems will be transformed: away from centralized nuclear and coal fired power plants towards more decentralized energy systems with renewable energy, smart grids and load management as well as in the midterm more storage. The investment and the transformation need clear market framework and policy signals to drive the system in the right direction. The German Energiewende has nowadays an image and management problem. Both need to be solved soon.