Kerstin Andreae, managing director of the BDEW

A leading German energy association and regional energy minister both called for increased German federal support in meeting the country’s decarbonisation goals.

Speaking at the opening of the annual E-World exhibition in Essen yesterday, Kerstin Andreae, managing director of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), said that politics was not making the transition easy and demanded greater honesty about the extent of the transition.

Sharing the platform was Prof Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitization, Innovation and Energy for North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), who called for greater support from central government to facilitate the required closure of the region’s hard coal power plants, some 50 per cent of which are in the state of NRW.

“We must have a fair transition”, said the State Minister. “Many of these plants are still young and not fully amortized. We don’t have the bridge built yet and more compensation is needed to allow for their closure by 2027.”

Andreae pointed out that the shutdown of coal plants in Germany had implications for the financial well-being of municipalities, many of which own substantial equity in the utility companies most impacted by the coal phase-out policy.

The BDEW boss also argued that substantial growth of both wind energy and photovoltaics was essential in order to meet climate change goals. “We need the government to provide an immediate framework to allow for the expansion of wind and solar.”

BDEW is also firmly backing hydrogen as a viable decarbonisation vector for heat and transportation. “BDEW will announce a roadmap on gas,” said Andreae. “We need gas as a bridging technology.”

Both Prof Pinkwart and Ms Andreae spoke about the need for a European-wide solution to maintain security of supply, with the minister calling for the creation a EU capacity market.