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Editorial Juni

Editorial Juni
EEHH GmbH/Daniel Reinhardt

The focus is increasingly on the role of infrastructure in the success of the energy transition. Offshore wind farms must be connected to the power grid via large high-voltage DC converters and long submarine cables, for example. And a handful of major connections are also being constructed and prepared on land to transport wind energy from northern to southern Germany. A core network of hydrogen pipelines is being planned in order to make industry and transport solutions climate-neutral across the country. And last but not least, almost all major cities are attempting to use waste heat from industry and data centres for their district heating, which usually requires new pipelines.

The media debate often focusses on the considerable and supposedly excessive costs associated with expanding the energy infrastructure. Hundreds and thousands of billions will be required in the coming decades – a reason for many media outlets to portray these projects or even the entire energy transition as unaffordable. Many researchers often exaggerate the costs, as normal maintenance costs are also included, which would have been incurred anyway. Investments are also frequently associated with the wrong timescale. It’s not only about investments that are intended to make energy supply carbon-neutral over the next two decades – the focus is now on using a sustainable infrastructure to lay the foundations for an unlimited climate-neutral energy supply.

So the reporting periods for investments shouldn’t be two decades, but rather 50 to 100 years. If the media, associations or other stakeholders apply the wrong benchmark, this will fail to address the situation and lead to fundamentally distorted debates.

Some time ago, the REH Cluster Agency presented the current status of the transformation of the energy infrastructure at the ‘Energy systems in transition’ conference, together with Hamburg’s energy network infrastructure operators. At this event, we heard how extensively the electricity, gas and heating networks, as well as public transport, must be expanded, decarbonised and digitalised. By 2028 (!), more than five billion euros will be invested in Hamburg for this alone. Of course, this is and will remain a lot of money. But it’s a good, well-considered investment by the city, as this is the only way to create a climate-neutral century after 2045 for all the city’s residents and businesses. We should stop complaining about incorrect benchmarks and get on with it!


About Jan Rispens

Profilbild zu: Jan Rispens

Jan Rispens is an electrical engineering graduate and has been Managing Director of the EEHH Cluster Agency since it was founded in 2011. He’s worked in the sustainable energy supply and climate protection sector for 20 years.