From polarization to an integrative polder model: “If the energy transition is to succeed, we need a comprehensive solution that encompasses both renewables and traditional energy carriers – and not an isolated debate,” the WINGAS Managing Director Ludwig Möhring said during the discussion on “The future of coal-fired power generation in Germany” at the Handelsblatt Annual Congress of the Energy Industry 2015 in Berlin.
Berlin. “The Dutch polder model, which brings all the relevant stakeholders in society – i.e. not just the traditional players in the energy sector – to the table to discuss fundamental issues, could also bring about positive change to the energy transition,” WINGAS Managing Director Ludwig Möhring said in front of an audience of more than a thousand leading representatives from the energy sector in Berlin. The industry needed less lobbying by the individual interest groups, he explained. Instead, we should have a round table to discuss an overall solution for how to achieve the objective, climate protection, in an affordable way that also guarantees supply security. “Then the various participants can wrestle over how it should work in detail,” Möhring said. “But first we need to know that all the parties are willing and mean it seriously, and we need general consensus about the central objective, namely to reduce carbon dioxide by 40 percent by 2020. As Minister Hendricks just said, the energy transition is the offspring of climate policy Germany is standing at a crucial crossroads in this discussion – the 2020 Action Program on Climate Protection by the German federal government states that an additional 22 million tons of CO2 should be saved on the electricity market.
“The market will not manage that at this point”, Möhring said. The European emissions trading system (ETS) would not lead to further CO2 reductions. Furthermore, with coal prices continuing to fall, he pointed out that it creates electricity prices whereby the price of environmentally friendly natural gas would have to fall by 40 percent, to 1.2 cents per kilowatt hour, to be able to compete with coal. That was the hard reality, and fundamental changes should not be expected, he said. “And for climate protection, that is certainly not the way ahead,” Möhring underlined.
“We bear a huge responsibility for what is happening in Germany,” Möhring continued. We need an energy supply that is not just environmentally friendly, but also affordable and secure, he explained. For the energy transition in Germany to work, all areas of the energy landscape must be directed towards the climate targets, and that would only work with if traditional and renewable energies work together efficiently.
“A serious policy to protect the climate is only capable of finding consensus when reducing CO2-emissions remains affordable and the carbon footprint of traditional energy sources improves long-term,” Möhring explained. Finally, these efforts would have to be of an international nature to preserve the competitiveness of German industry.
The Handelsblatt Annual Congress was held in Berlin for the 22nd time from 20 – 22 January 2015. Leading representatives from industry, politics, science and research gathered for three days to talk about the current developments on the energy market and were also available for discussions with the congress participants.
More information on the talk with Ludwig Möhring on the subject of “The future of coal-fired power generation in Germany” is available here: