07 Mar 2023, 12:26
Carolina Kyllmann

Scholz urges local utilities to invest in green future, guarantees govt support

Clean Energy Wire

Municipal utilities are at the forefront of implementing the energy transition and should “invest in the green future of their business,” Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the annual meeting of local utilities association VKU. “We can make it: The future belongs to renewable energy for cost reasons, for environmental reasons, for safety reasons,” he said. With the aim of covering its energy demand mostly with renewables and green hydrogen by 2045, the government made far-reaching state subsidies available for utilities and is working on tackling hurdles to implementation such as the national shortage of skilled workers, Scholz said, adding municipal utilities are responsible for installing accessible charging systems for electric cars, introducing modern metering systems or developing distribution grids.

Scholz told the conference that municipal utilities were “the ace up our sleeve” for making the energy transition a success. Germany made it through the winter, avoided the worst consequences of the energy crisis, and did enough to reliably get through next winter and beyond, Scholz continued. “We made it,” he said opening his speech, lauding municipal utilities for helping implement government measures to shield consumers from skyrocketing energy prices.

Germany must now continue at the ‘new German speed’ — achieved during the rapid building of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals — in the coming expansion of renewables and grids, and in the hydrogen ramp-up. Germany’s industry could be competitive and the country independent through safe, affordable and sustainable energy, Scholz said. According to a September 2022 survey by VKU, undecided political issues – such as a lack of planning and investment security for municipal energy suppliers and network operators, as well as the duration and requirements of current planning and approval – are by far the greatest obstacle to the energy transition for the vast majority of municipal utilities and energy experts from municipal companies.

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