Germany keeps an eye on the world as it mulls over its renewables policy

The end of 2013 saw the formation of a new German government, headed by Angela Merkel as Chancellor for the third time.

One issue that remains on top of the government’s “to-do” list is to see how it can integrate the further expansion of renewables in an economically and technically feasible manner.

But the country is also keenly keeping an eye on how other countries are satisfying their energy hunger. Weltenergierat, the WEC German member committee, organised its most recent annual German Energy Day for this very purpose.

“Long-term, clear and stable policy frameworks are at the core of any answer to the complex challenge ahead,” Marie-José Nadeau, WEC Chair, told 150 delegates in a keynote at the event, held in Berlin on 17 December – which, coincidentally, was the day when Mrs Merkel was re-confirmed as Chancellor. The event looked at the implications of the changing oil and gas markets on energy security.

Prof. Volker Perthes, Director at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, believes that the plentiful unconventional resources in the US will reduce its military engagement in the Gulf region. However, the region will remain an important oil supplier especially to Asia’s growing economies.

The shale oil and gas boom, new LNG trade routes, and growing domestic demand in emerging economies have been changing the sector. It could also have profound impacts on Germany, so the country should keep an eye on international developments, according to Nicole Kaim, Advisor at WEC Germany. “Today, gas and electricity prices in Germany are many times higher than in the US. In the medium term, this may challenge our competitiveness.”