News Digest Item
16 Apr 2018

Germany runs risk of losing Energiewende plot, needs carbon price – E.ON CEO

Clean Energy Wire

Johannes Teyssen, the chief executive of energy company E.ON, said Germany is running the risk of losing the overarching plot of its Energiewende. He warned that the current government is focusing again too much on side-aspects such as the exact date and process of a phase-out of coal-fired power generation. “The coal exit is a side plot, interesting, somewhat helpful, but not decisive,” Teyssen told a technology conference organised by the German Energy Agency (dena) as part of the Berlin Energy Week in reference to the much-debated coal commission the government is setting up. “The one thing” that would really bring the energy transition forward would be a sustainable carbon price, because innovators and businesses would then take efficient decisions, Teyssen said, pointing to the success of the carbon floor price in the United Kingdom. A project like the Energiewende needed to focus on the overarching goals to keep the public on board. The main story was to protect the earth’s climate and create a sustainable energy system without endangering jobs and social cohesion, he said. “The leitmotif has got lost behind more narrow interest.” But Teyssen insisted he was optimistic that the energy transition would ultimately be successful. The world was now at a turning point where a bottom-up change process driven by innovators, technology, companies and customers should replace the past top-down policy-driven transition. The key elements of the transition were electrification, renewables, customer focus and grid network, Teyssen said. “Electricity will be the oil of the 21st century,” he added. Speaking at the same conference, the CEO of the World Energy Council (WEC), Christoph Frei, said that the three main drivers of the energy transition were climate change, technological innovations, and the push for resilient energy systems.

For background, read the factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? and CLEW’s Easy Guide to the German energy transition.

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