Energy transition: A review - JARA-ENERGY Talks with Prof. Andreas Löschel

  Lecture Prof. Dr. Andreas Löschel

Wednesday, November 04, 2020, 7:30 p.m., online presentation


The JARA-ENERGY Talks took place for the fifth time on 04 November 2020. Taking acount account of the global situation, the event was organized in an online format for the first time. Around 140 participants followed the presentations of Prof. Andreas Löschel, University of Münster and Chairman of the Expert Commission "Energy of the Future" of the German Federal Government, who gave a review of the energy transition.

The challenges of the energy transition
In his presentation, Prof. Andreas Löschel found clear words, because in order to achieve the energy transition in Germany, some challenges have to be mastered and for some of them there is no adequate solution yet. In many areas, Germany is lagging behind the targets set, for example in energy efficiency, and in many areas the higher EU climate targets will turn German plans upside down. Coal phase-out, decarbonization of the industry or sector coupling are just some of the increasingly dynamic fields of action in this context. In recent months, Löschel summed up in his presentation, other major areas have emerged.

However, he made it clear that fossil fuels have become obsolete in perspective. In an effort to reduce CO2 emissions sustainably and in the long term, therefore, the coal phase-out is only consistent if there is also significant potential for improvement in the way in which it is implemented. In any case, subsidizing conventional energy sources is counterproductive in achieving the goal of a largely climate-neutral energy supply.

In his JARA-ENERGY Talk, the energy expert also pointed out that the individual measures are interlinked and that the success of the energy transition requires a systemic view. For example, the phase-out of coal by 2030 is perfectly feasible, but depends very much on the expansion of renewable energy sources. Investment in hydrogen technologies also contributes to the coal phase-out.

The heating and transport sectors have not been integrated far enough into the efforts so far. The expert sees a backlog demand here. In addition, there must also be a stronger focus on industrial transformation. It is precisely in this area that Andreas Löschel sees a great driving force for Germany as an industrial country. On the one hand, the government can support the implementation of measures for climate-neutral production through impulses and incentives, while on the other hand industry is also called upon to actively advance with its own measures and thus seize opportunities.

The CO2 price as a control element
The investments in green energy sources and corresponding infrastructure, as well as the coal phase-out, all serve to reduce CO2 emissions, the central field of action of the energy transition. As Prof. Löschel explained in his presentation, CO2 pricing is an effective control element for reducing the emission of climate gases. The CO2 price has an influence on all sectors and thus creates a stable framework for the energy transition. It must be accepted that the CO2 price does not correspond to the economic ideal of a unified price for all sectors and countries. Instead, a European solution should be sought as soon as possible. Market coordination mechanisms are necessary, not least to make the European Green Deal with its many players possible at all.

Energy transistion - A global challenge
The energy transition is a global challenge. In the long term, the containment of global warming and CO2 emissions can only be achieved in cooperation with the countries of the world. The goal must therefore be to push forward joint approaches in climate policy with other countries. Only to the extent that this does not succeed, alternatives such as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism are needed.
In the discussion that followed the presentation, the speaker emphasized that consistent implementation of the goals set out in the Paris Convention must necessarily entail stronger measures in other countries. In this way, the German energy transition can also become a successful model.

JARA-ENERGY Talks also successful online
During the lively discussion, Prof. Andreas Löschel answered numerous other questions about the energy transition and the status of the measures taken and planned. The host of the event, JARA-ENERGY Director Prof. Dirk Uwe Sauer, expressed his satisfaction: "The corona crisis is causing us to try out new formats in the event sector. The new on-line format led today to an interesting and mad lecture evening and also the participation of many far away living audience made possible. We hope that we will soon be able to meet our speakers and our audience in Berlin again in person, but we will also no longer do without the parallel digital offer.”

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