German Energy Congress in Munich
Munich. It’s less than three weeks until the next German election. At the 12th German Energy Congress in Munich this year, the focus was primarily on what the energy industry expects of the next government, which, during the next legislative period, will need more than ever to bring about reforms to achieve the short, medium and long-term climate protection goals of the energy transition.
“For a long time now, Germany hasn’t been reducing its CO2 emissions as much as it should. In recent years, the development of wind and solar energy has become a kind of end in itself, as has the call for the complete electrification of all consumer sectors,” as Ludwig Möhring, member of the WINGAS Board, explained in front of numerous representatives from industry, politics and the media. “For real climate protection, however, we need more courage to see reason in energy policy. In other words, we don’t just need targets for developing renewables, but also clear CO2 reduction targets. That should have top priority as a goal – of course, along with ensuring supply security and affordability.”
For each consumer sector, Möhring then set out another demand: “If we want to progress quickly with climate protection in the electricity sector, we need a roadmap for phasing out coal, but not with a deadline of 2040. For the heating market, we need a technology-neutral renovation roadmap geared to CO2 avoidance costs rather than a prior commitment to an electricity solution.” The WINGAS Managing Director does not see electrification alone as a remedy for the transport sector either. “For road traffic, we need a solution that quickly solves the environmental and climate problems. That cannot simply be achieved in the near future through e-mobility alone. Clean combustion engines are also still needed. Why not power them with clean natural gas?”
Dominant topic in the energy policy debate
Möhring devoted a large part of his speech to sector coupling – the dominant topic at present in the energy policy debate. “Anyone who sees sector coupling as the electrification of all consumer sectors, in other words, who pursues an electrification strategy, fails to appreciate the potential of sector coupling as it should be understood.” Electrifying all areas, as laid out in the Climate Protection Plan, would mean a five-fold increase in existing electricity capacities and the associated infrastructure.
“How the extra electricity required is to be provided from renewable sources, however, when households also have to be heated in winter completely by renewable electricity remains literally in the dark.” Möhring called for an integrated electricity and gas infrastructure to ensure a cost-optimized and secure energy supply. “The solution to an economical, environmentally-friendly energy supply lies in the combination of renewable and conventional energy sources.”