JARA ENERGY Talks: "Wie die Energiewende gelingt - Forschung und Innovation als Motor für gesellschaftlichen Wandel"

Thursday, October 10, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Couvenhalle, Karmanstr. 17-19, Aachen, Germany


State Secretary Andreas Feicht on energy system transformation and social change

Innovation, research and technology as central forces in energy policy

On 10th October, the Couvenhalle provided the perfect setting for the JARA-ENERGY Talks. In the fourth edition of the event, Andreas Feicht, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, visited JARA at the RWTH and talked about the success of the energy turnaround. Around 150 listeners, including interested citizens, scientists and representatives of industry, followed his remarks and then posed interested questions on the subject. State Secretary Feicht was able to report directly at first hand on the climate protection law passed the day before in the Berlin cabinet and the associated climate protection programme.

Energy Turnaround = Electricity Turnaround

For several years now, there has been much discussion about energy system transformation and, above all, about measures to achieve climate targets. State Secretary Andreas Feicht explained in his lecture "How the energy turnaround is succeeding - research and innovation as a motor for social change" that the energy turnaround has so far essentially been a power turnaround and why the fields of heat supply and mobility must now also be included in the sense of sector coupling in order to achieve climate targets.
Both the phasing out of coal and the switch to renewable energies are central tasks for the State Secretary that must be implemented. The conversion of electricity generation is linked to many factors. For example, the electricity grid must be expanded so that it can reliably guarantee the supply of electricity in the future as well. New components will find their place in this grid, from electricity storage facilities to offshore wind farms and hydrogen pipelines. However, new grid concepts are only one step on the way to a clean energy supply. In this context, Feicht calls for a holistic approach to energy system transformation, also in terms of social and political acceptance.

Intelligent promotion and incentive systems

Regimentation via laws and regulations, according to State Secretary Feicht in his lecture, will not motivate citizens to actively participate in shaping the energy system transformation. Although an action plan for climate protection has already been adopted, an incentive and subsidy system is needed to make the change in energy use attractive and increase public acceptance. The aim of subsidies is to motivate citizens, for example, to renovate buildings and thus reduce heat consumption or to question their own mobility behaviour. An adjusted increase in the price of CO2 would also accelerate the phasing out of coal. Feicht advocates keeping an eye on the financially weaker fellow citizens, especially when increasing the CO2 price. Refunds could be a means of keeping the burden small. Energy-intensive industries would have a sufficiently attractive incentive through the CO2 price to switch more and more to "green" electricity and heat.

Promoting innovation, science and technology

State Secretary Andreas Feicht sees a hurdle on the way to energy system transformation in the area of technologies. Science and research must be promoted in order to develop new technologies in all areas of energy technology. In addition, innovations must be brought to the market and implemented as quickly as possible. Real laboratories are an important instrument for smoothing this path. Science should do research in several directions, as powerful power storage systems will be just as important as efficient technologies for generating or converting electricity. State Secretary Feicht is certain that the energy and heat supply and mobility of the future will be a diverse mix of different technologies.