How to ensure energy transition’s success – a political panel discussion

Posted On : 2014-01-11

The election year of 2013 is seeing German energy policy undergo significant changes in direction. Hans-Josef Fell, Energy Policy Speaker of the Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens, and Horst Meierhofer, a long-standing expert on energy and the environment for Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP), discussed the current challenges faced by the energy transition at the Innovation Exchange on Thursday, June 20. The discussion, entitled Energy Policy Forum: Solar Energy and the Energy Transition - Current Situation and Prospects in the Election Year of 2013, was chaired by Carsten Körnig, CEO of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), Berlin. The fact that the forum was so well attended reflected the widespread interest in political positions.rnrnThe future structure of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) formed the central element of the discussion on the topic of photovoltaics. The imposing of limits on electricity prices and developments in the area of energy storage systems were also explored. The experts agreed on the necessity of continuing to expand renewable energy and also unanimously welcomed incentives for energy storage systems. They were also in favor of reliable conditions for investing in renewable energy sources and felt that provisions to protect existing plants should remain in place. However, the panel shared different opinions on the speed and financing of the future expansion of photovoltaics in Germany.rnrnHans-Josef Fell called for the solar industry to cooperate more closely and speak with one united voice, stating that debates, such as the current argument surrounding protective tariffs on Chinese solar modules, are causing the industry to damage itself from within. At the same time, he stressed the need to work towards further encouraging on-site consumption and generators of photovoltaic energy to market their own solar power. Horst Meierhofer, on the other hand, claimed that the industry itself must actively work to increase the acceptance of the energy transition among German citizens, believing that rising electricity prices would result in the financing of the energy transition being called into question. Accordingly, he felt that the development of new means of providing financing are essential, adding that a uniform European financing model could offer an appropriate solution.rnrnIn terms of the role of solar thermal technologies in the success of the energy transition, the discussion’s participants all agreed that solar heating and cooling must be taken into account when implementing future statutory provisions.rnrnVisitors’ immense interest in the lively panel discussion emphasized the fact that Intersolar Europe provides an ideal platform for political discussions on renewable energy.

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Posted On : 2014-01-11

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