Energy transition needs to be affordable, WEC Germany survey finds

© Deutscher Bundestag / Lichtblick/Achim Melde

The German Energiewende needs to be affordable for it to work, according to the latest international survey by Weltenergierat, the WEC’s German member committee.

The majority (76%) of the experts from 23 countries surveyed do not believe that the Energiewende – or ‘energy transition’ – could be a blueprint for their own country.

“International energy experts remain sceptical of the German energy transition two years after our federal government released the policy,” said Jürgen Stotz, Chairman of Weltenergierat.

The Energiewende is Germany’s policy decision to shift dramatically from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewables.  Following the closure of German nuclear reactors post-Fukushima, the country now also needs to meet its carbon reduction goals without nuclear power. The country now expects that, by 2030, it will generate 50% of its electricity from renewables.

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Jürgen Stotz: “International energy experts remain sceptical of the German energy transition two years after our federal government released the policy.”

While about half (56%) of respondents could see their country adopting parts of the policy, this was a drop of 10% compared with more than a year ago when Weltengerierat conducted its first international survey, in October 2011.

In the latest survey, only a quarter of respondents believe that their own country has the technical and economic capacity to implement the Energiewende in their own countries. This was a drop from about 40% in 2011.

The vast majority (80%) of respondents believe that the German energy policy will lead to an increase in electricity prices in their own markets, while about half (52%) believe the German Energiewende would reduce Europe’s overall energy security.

International experts also believe the German policy change will negatively impact on the country’s economy.

“A clear majority of 60% feared a short and medium-term weakening of Germany’s economic strength due to the current energy policy, while about half [52%] believe this would happen in the longer term,” said Mr Stotz.

A majority (64%) of the respondents believe that if electricity prices rise sharply, then it is possible that the energy-intensive and export-dominated industries would slow down, as has been the case in Germany.

Mr Stotz added: “Only a sustained, safe and economic energy supply can serve as a model for the world.”

– by Klaus-Peter Kreß, Weltenergierat; with Ulrike Döring and Monique Tsang