Gearing the energy revolution to climate protection targets

WINGAS Managing Director Ludwig Möhring: "Integrated solutions must also be cost-effective"

Düsseldorf/Kassel. "The energy revolution has reached a fork in the road: while the development of renewable energies is welcome news, there are unanswered questions regarding affordability, supply security and – paradoxically – whether we will meet the climate protection targets for 2020," said Ludwig Möhring, WINGAS Managing Director and the person responsible for sales, at the "Stadtwerke 2015" annual conference in Düsseldorf. "Unless additional measures are taken, we will definitely miss the targets for reducing CO2." As Möhring pointed out, however, the only way to ensure that the energy supply system is affordable in the long term is to rethink it, paying particular attention to climate protection and the associated costs: "The euphoria in connection with the energy revolution has largely evaporated – this is reflected in the opinions of municipal utility company customers from all over Germany." With a market share of around 20 percent, WINGAS is one of the biggest natural gas suppliers in Germany.

"From the point of view of the energy revolution and the coalition contract, implementation of the Federal Environment Ministry's "Klimaschutz 2020" campaign program is only logical," emphasized Möhring, addressing representatives from industry and politics. "One of the points in it – the reduction of CO2 emissions by 22 million tons per year in the electricity sector – has now triggered a long overdue discussion. In view of the economic implications, however, this discussion regarding the transition from conventional electricity generation to a low-CO2 world should be conducted carefully and with a sense of proportion." According to Möhring, the modern electricity generation landscape of the 21st century must combine renewable and conventional electricity production, while taking into account affordability and supply security: "Only with this integrated approach geared to climate protection and its costs can we ensure that the energy revolution is justified and credible as a possible success model for other economies."

A prominent example is combined heat and power technology (CHP). "When it comes to developing CHP, the government has been incredibly cautious to date," said the WINGAS sales boss. "At the same time, the financial subsidies for CHP technology are currently less than €500 million and thus below the maximum amount of €750 million per year." Möhring is certain that focusing, as suggested, on climate-oriented subsidies for highly efficient gas-fired CHP plants would make sense. However, he believes that a possible change in the amendment to the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG) whereby the 25 percent target would relate to conventional power plant stock only equates to a reduction of the CHP targets in Germany. "The development of CHP is a major opportunity to encourage the lasting decarbonization of the energy landscape, to create additional electricity capacity capable of meeting base load requirements and to relieve the burden on electricity networks by supplying electricity locally," explained Möhring. "Why are the targets for developing CHP and appropriate CHP subsidies not discussed in the overall context of reducing CO2 in the electricity market, ensuring supply security and the associated costs compared to other alternatives?" said Möhring, speaking in Düsseldorf.

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