The European energy industry is facing big challenges. The goal of achieving energy supplies which are as CO2-neutral as possible by 2050 demand a radical alteration of the entire energy landscape. With the title "Is the Energy Turnaround Turning Europe into a Live Wire", this year's VERBUND energy conference "energy 2050" will be tackling the political, financial, technical, scientific and social aspects which need to be considered for a future sustainable energy system.
The situation on the European electricity market is alarming: The excessive amount of support schemes for electricity generated from renewable energy sources have led to turmoil on the European electricity market. Massive investments made into mostly volatile generation capacities, such as wind and solar energy, caused a drop in the prices on the wholesale market. Power plants which receive no support, but which are necessary for a secure supply will be progressively driven out of the market. The costs for households are increasing and acceptance from consumers to pay for the energy transition is decreasing.
More Europe, more competition and less bureaucracy
VERBUND Chairman of the Managing Board and "energy 2050" host Wolfgang Anzengruber says "As a large supplier of renewable energy, we support the energy transition, however, also plead for the affordability and secure availability of electricity. Energy and above all electricity are not only everyday comforts, but essential factors for facilities and places of work. In addition, there is a need for greater coordination on a European level, especially in the area of public support schemes for wind and solar energy, but also for network expansion for the remodelling of the CO2 market and for the design of the electricity market". In order for the energy transition to succeed, politics, the economy and society have to pull together. What it needs is technological progress and innovative solutions as well as wide support in the community for energy efficiency. According to VERBUND Chairman of the Managing Board Mr. Anzengruber: "We have to take responsibility together and set the course for a sustainable energy policy for future generations. Only then will it be possible to have a long-term, secure energy supply from renewable energy sources at acceptable energy prices and without limitations to climate protection".
"More Europe, more competition and less bureaucracy" demands Professor Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge, Head of the Chair of the Energy Economics Institute of the University of Cologne (EWI), who analyses the preliminary results of the energy transition in Europe in his paper. "The so-called German energy transition is over-determined, incomplete and unbalanced" analyses Professor Bettzüge, "alongside a coherent, complete and consistent set of goals, it also lacks a clear implementation concept". Over the shared price zone of Austria and Germany, the Austrian market is feeling the impact of the German energy transition particularly acutely. The wholesale price is sinking on the energy exchange, the capacity of the networks is being exhausted.
A better coordinated energy transition, pushing forward market integration for renewable energy
"The energy transition requires improved coordination on a European level. At the same time we have to push forward market integration for renewable energy on all levels, we have to above all progressively expand networks and storage ", these are the main challenges named by the Federal Minister of Economy and Energy, Reinhold Mitterlehner. He emphasis that "If there are single days where electricity prices are negative, however, at the same time, industry, finance and households are having to struggle with high energy costs, then a price adjustment is necessary. Especially seeing as energy prices are more than ever an important factor in the choice of location when it comes to international competition". According to Mitterlehner "In contrast to Germany, we in Austria have established a new green electricity law, which is ambitious for renewable energy, however, also encourages as much efficiency as possible. This advantage we have regarding location is something we want to guarantee and develop in future. In order to do this we have to lead green electricity technology even more towards being marketable".
Among those giving talks
Among the many guest speakers at "energy 2050": Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick, Vice President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy; Jochen Homann, President of The Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway; Wilhelm Molterer, Vice President of the European Investment Bank; Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office.
During the three conference days the challenges and opportunities for the energy transition as well as the restructuring of the energy system will be addressed. The discussion round and the workshops will deal with questions like "Is more needed from the state or the market?", "How can one combine climate and environmental protection, security of supply and more affordable electricity prices?" or "Storage and networks- where are the missing links of the energy transition?". Best practices will be presented and possible solutions will be worked out together. Because yes, the energy transition is turning Europe into a live wire, nevertheless success is possible: For this to occur, politics, the economy and society have to pull together. As Wolfgang Anzengruber says: "We have to take responsibility together and set the course for a sustainable energy policy for future generations. Only then will it be possible to have a long-term, secure energy supply from 100% renewable energy sources at acceptable energy prices and without limitations to climate protection".
Follow the energy2050 energy conference live via the VERBUND-Blog: www.verbund.com/blog