Editorial August 2018
Germany as a whole is creeping slowly but surely out of the summer break, having witnessed a remarkable heat wave and period of dryness. Despite reluctance to consider weather and climate in the same vein, trends objectively witnessed in climate research since the 1990s with record temperatures year on year simply can no longer be ignored. The period of fine weather has driven home the very need to debate the “security” of renewable energy supplies reposefully and from an entirely new direction, having heard the debate on water temperatures in rivers and the restrictions on nuclear power plants, thermal power plants and industry.
Though this summer, too, has made apparent a series of thoroughly positive trends for energy transition. Pricing for CO2 emissions certificates for instance has doubled with surprising speed and vigour since the start of the year to more than 17 euros per ton. Consequently, the “true” costs of energy generation are also becoming ever more apparent: prices on energy markets are increasing in line with CO2 certification. We’ve also had forecasts in recent days for the 2019 EEC levy, which is expected to remain steady. Though numbers continue to increase in terms of renewable energy systems on-grid, the costs therefore are no longer rising. Then there’s the news concerning the four transmission grid operators informing us that “redispatch interventions” in the case of grid overload fell by almost half in the first half of 2018. Expansion of the grid is slowly starting to take effect.
Thoroughly positive trends therefore are emerging across a range of fundamental factors in the area of energy supply. A good reason to remain committed to reshaping energy supply in Germany and to increasing the proportion of renewable energies, you’d expect. This was also signalled in the coalition agreement of the German Federal Government with special bid invitations for wind energy and photovoltaics. The wind industry urgently needs this momentum, as we expect difficult years ahead from 2019 due to blunders made by legislators in changing over to procurements by tender. Therefore companies are currently cutting jobs on a significant scale. Despite the coalition agreement, energy policy gridlock prevails in Berlin. We need to protect our climate and our local wind industry. We do not hope that our German energy politicians are willing to put our technological developments of the last three decades at risk so that we would have to order our wind energy plants from Asian companies in the future.