Energiewende – Think European!

Energiewende – Think European!

International Conference

International Conference

Germany resolved to go down the path of its energy transition – the Energiewende – largely without
consulting its European neighbors. Up to now, conceptual debates and practical steps taken have
almost exclusively been limited to the national context. Yet, the Energiewende cannot be successful
without Europe. After all, greater integration in European power supply will make renewable electricity
more reliable and less expensive. In the process, Germany can assume the role of a pioneer in
Europe by showing other member states what the path to a more climate-friendly, future-proof power
supply looks like.

A transnational power grid makes it easier and much less expensive to integrate intermittent
renewables. For instance, excess renewable power can be taken up by inexpensive storage facilities
in the Alps and Scandinavia. In addition, European power trading will ensure that renewable electricity
is mainly produced where it is the least expensive.

Unfortunately, there are few signs of a European Energiewende at present.
Germany's neighbors to the east have threatened to protect their grids against variable renewable
power from Germany to ensure their grid stability – and the profitability of their electricity from fossil
fuel. The European debt and economic crisis has reduced support for renewables and slowed down
growth rates in southern Europe. At the same time, a number of member states continue to bank on
coal and nuclear power. Grid expansion is progressing slowly, as is the European power market.
Furthermore, there is no consensus among member states on how renewables policies should look
after 2020. Pioneering countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, have ambitious targets, while France
and the UK remain skeptical and are calling for a technology-blind climate policy without binding
targets for renewables and efficiency.

The conference aims to give speakers from across Europe a chance to talk about the opportunities in
and obstacles towards an Energiewende in Europe.

The conference is a cooperation with EurActiv.