During the last few weeks, there has been quite a lot of interesting news. One alarming news was that April 2016 was by far the hottest since temperature records began. With a temperature rise of 1.1 degrees in April, we are moving dangerously close to the 1.5 degree mark. In the view of many scientists, from this point on, significant climate changes are already inevitable. The 2-degree temperature rise agreed on by the community of states in Paris also appears to be dangerously close. However, one piece of good news is that on 15 May, Germany was able to run almost entirely on power from renewable energy sources, since an extremely high level of solar and wind energy was available.
Against the background of the current negotiations on the Renewable Energy Sources act in Berlin, this is nothing short of incredible. Discussions are being held as to whether climate change is still a only distant threat, and whether renewable energies are simply an interference which disrupts the energy markets and causes costs to explode. Naturally, renewable energies are disruptive and throw old business models into disarray, but there is no other option than to continue the ambitious project to expand them. To this extent, the strenuous efforts to limit the expansion of renewable energies to 45% in 2025 is counter-productive. It takes the dynamic out of the expansion, leads to insecurity among investors in the energy transition, and fails to take into account the planned sector coupling with mobility and building heating.
Even if the lack of transmission grid capacities is a real problem, since renewable energies currently need to be regulated down, this should rather be an impetus to expanding the grids more rapidly, rather than putting a brake on the expansion of renewable energies for the entire next decade. Schleswig-Holstein has just demonstrated with its west coast pipeline how quickly a high-voltage line can be approved and planned. Not least, it is important for wind energy on land, as the backbone of the energy transition, to realise its fair portion of the expansion of renewable energies of 2,500 MW net per annum. Here, the threat of reducing funds for wind farms on land by 7.5% by January 1st 2017 is pulling the rug from under the feet of many project managers and projects.
We appeal to all those involved in the political process to think very carefully about what is needed to bring about a long-term energy transition. The latest climate research news leave us little scope for false interpretation!