Germany’s Transition to renewables

Andreas Esser is the Managing Director of Green-Energy-Scout called GES. He talks about Germany’s planned transition to renewable energy by 2030 and the changes involved.

Germany gets rid of nuclear power.

In the aftermath of the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the government decided to gradually shift to an energy system based on renewable sources. Plans call for the share of electricity produced this way to reach 35 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

How can Germany achieve these goals?

This long-term strategy in line with energy transition process initiated in 2000, although it also accelerates the pace of the transition, which presents a huge challenge. The transformation of the energy system in a highly industrialized country had to be organized in a manner that makes sure we remain internationally competitive as an industrial location.

On the one hand, energy consumption must be reduced through energy efficiency measures. At the same time, renewable energy sources must be intelligently integrated into the system. This will require expanding the grid infrastructure, developing new storage systems, and introducing smart grid components. The electricity we generate in the future will be generated by millions of distributers owning plants that will often produce electricity at the same time, which means the will function like a single giant generator. We also need to build conventional power plants in the 10,000 MW range in order to ensure supplies.

What are the challenges here?

The energy transition is highly complex project in terms of its impact on society, technologies, and the economy. Up until now, we’ve used energy carriers with a high energy density – natural gas, oil, uranium, and coal – all of which are easy to store. We need to fund people’s great ideas to reduce their consumption while increase their own local energy production.

What do you think our energy system will look like in the future?

We need to closely examine what’s going to happen over the next 10 to 20 years.

The mobility sector, which produced about one third of the CO2 emissions will more and more convert to electric zero emission vehicles.

The housing will be better insulated, and boilers will be more efficient and smarter. Bio Gas, Solar and Wind power will gain importance and science is working constantly on storage methods to get rid of goal and gas plants.

The total awareness of energy consumptions is increasing while the comfort is rising.