BDEW: 2 years after Fukushima:
Hildegard Müller: The energy industry is committed to the energy transition
Industry points to difficulties in the implementation of the energy transition / natural gas and coal will remain an indispensible part of the energy supply for many years to come
“What happened in Fukushima two years ago served as a warning as well as an incentive to further advance the restructuring of the energy supply in Germany. However, the initiation of the energy transition predates the dramatic events in Fukushima. The “Energy Concept 2050” had already been passed by the German government at the end of September 2010. The energy industry has supported the political aims underpinning the energy transition from the outset, despite all of the difficulties and discussions. The catastrophic reactor failure in Fukushima caused the debate in this country around energy policy to change abruptly. In the immediate aftermath, almost all social groups and political parties undertook a complete reassessment of the risks of nuclear energy, as did BDEW. One should not forget, however, that the challenges we face with the energy transition will not be over when the final nuclear power station is switched off rather they will only just be beginning”, said Hildegard Müller, Chairwoman of the General Executive Management Board of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft - BDEW).
As early as 8 April 2011, the BDEW board saw the events in Fukushima as a crucial moment. A large majority voted for a more rapid departure from the use of nuclear energy, whilst ensuring the security of supply, protection of the environment and affordability, by 2020 or at the latest according to the timetable in the 2002 decision to phase out nuclear energy. “BDEW and the industry are thus the driving force behind topics such as security of supply, protection of the environment and affordability. Furthermore, specific requirements were mentioned, even at that time, which remain significant today. These include the fact that natural gas and coal will form an essential part of the energy mix in addition to renewable energy for many years to come”, stressed Hildegard Müller.
“The long-term energy transition project has shown in the last two years that it is about more than just increasing the volume of electricity generated using renewable energy sources. Due to current challenges and discussions surrounding topics such as the brake on electricity prices (Strompreisbremse), distribution of costs, reform of the German Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz – EEG), expansion of the network or economic viability of conventional power plants, we have to now do everything possible to make reliability and confidence central pillars of energy policy once more. The aims of the energy transition are achievable. However, there is a growing abundance of aims. The situation requires improved coordination and harmonisation. A coordinated investment of effort specifically in the dialogue between Federal and state governments as well as a fair balancing of interests for all parties involved. We need an unemotional intervention mechanism for the implementation of the energy transition. A “National Forum on the Energy Transition”, as proposed by the WWF and BDEW, would provide a suitable platform”, declared Hildegard Müller.