What is Germany's grand coalition planning?
Germany's new coalition government has ambitious energy policies. Industry associations are anticipating concrete support plans for systematic energy management and energy data-based manufacturing.27 Mar 2018
"We are transforming Germany into the most energy-efficient economy in the world." The preamble in the new coalition agreement indicates ambitious measures from Germany's new government. Based on the Green Paper on Energy Efficiency, the grand coalition plans to continue to develop and implement the national plan of action for energy (NAPE) as quickly as possible. By 2050, energy consumption is to be halved. The gaps in the climate goals for 2020 will be closed by taking into consideration the "three goals of security of supply, clean energy, and economic feasibility without structural interruptions and by means of clearly expanding renewables and energy efficiency."
One item is of particular interest to companies: Existing aid programs will be stabilized at the current levels and evaluated and fine-tuned to the needs of users if necessary. The grand coalition also announced an aid program for decarbonizing the industrial sector.
Peter Altmaier (CDU), the new Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, has also identified his priorities: Expanding the power grid, protecting energy-intensive industries, implementing the climate protection plan 2050, and promoting German battery cell production are core energy areas that he is planning to position in the grand coalition. "Energy-intensive industries will continue to benefit from the special equivalency rule following the EU competition commission agreement and that provides protection for investments," he stated at an energy policy conference at the CDU economic council in Berlin. Altmaier promises relief to SMEs: "As an SME, if I invest five or six million euros, I want to know if I will still be able to pay for the energy I consume," says the minister.
Altmaier signaled few concessions when it comes to the climate protection plan 2050. He recalls the government's promise to revisit the distribution of carbon dioxide reductions that burden individual sectors after Germany's most recent election, but he is not making any concessions to the industrial sector. "Power generation is under a strain and we now need to take care of other sectors," said Altmaier to a council of SMEs. The point is not to focus on "how many tons of CO2 need to be reduced, but how can we achieve that goal?" says Altmaier. He indicated that it would be useful for sectors that are now subject to emissions trading to focus more strongly on their CO2 burden.
The German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) welcomes the clear political position on energy efficiency but also sees gaps in the coalition agreement: "An effective efficiency strategy needs to provide more incentives to the industrial sector," explains Carsten Müller, Chairman of the Board at DENEFF. "Accelerated deductions for energy-efficient investments and clever efficiency requirements in return for privileges in energy transfer and taxes could reasonably complement the projected "Decarbonization in the Industrial Sector" aid program."
The new government's efficiency policy will be discussed at Energy 2018 on Monday at the trade show at 1:30 p.m. during the opening session of the Forum Digital Energy. The products and services that the industrial sector needs for future energy management can be found at the group pavilion Digital Energy in Hall 12 (D45). This special display area partnered by DENEFF and VEA serves as a point of contact for companies in energy-intensive sectors who are faced with rising energy costs and new requirements such as the certification standards ISO 50001 and 50003. Digital Energy addresses energy managers, factory managers, site managers, and plant and engine builders along with technical facility managers and industrial service personnel in utility companies.
Solutions showcased in Hall 12 include digital energy optimization systems, software for load and energy data management, and energy monitoring along with system solutions for energy-efficient manufacturing processes and installations.
The forum at the special display area will address the latest technological and regulatory developments and show where integrated energy management is already being applied. The German Energy Agency (dena) is an ideal sponsor of the Digital Energy Forum. DENEFF is also providing information here on subsidies for energy efficiency and innovative solutions: "Special Industry: Less + MORE – the many advantages of industrial energy management" is the name of a DENEFF presentation on Monday afternoon. The industry association is also a part of the BuildingEnergyTechnologies Forum (Halle 27): During the all-day discussion "Less + MORE – the many advantages of energy efficiency", DENEFF has also invited funding agencies to participate on stage.
Another partner in the special display "Digital Energy – Energy Management in the Industrial Environment" is the German Association of Energy Consumers (VEA). "Rising electricity costs, legal energy requirements, and the demand for cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly manufacturing present major challenges to many companies, especially SMEs," says Judith Aue, energy policy spokesperson for the association in explaining its engagement.
At the Digital Energy Forum (April 24 to 26, from 9:30 to 10 a.m.) the VEA advises its members during its daily opening talk at the user forum to support "a mix of energy-efficient production and strategic energy purchases, along with thinking outside the box, and of course, meeting legal energy requirements." Experts will be on hand throughout the show to interested companies for one-on-one discussions and any questions they may have.
"Knowledge of energy legislation is not only a fundamental part of sound legal protection but also pays off financially for companies," says Judith Aue. This is especially apparent "when in individual cases some VEA members generate their entire annual budget for new investments solely by complying with compulsory registration and making claims with the correct government authorities. Unfortunately, instructions on actual implementation is frequently lacking," says Aue.
The VEA is therefore asking the new government to reduce the bureaucracy. In the Renewable Energy Law (EEG) and the Act on Combined Heat and Power Generation (KWKG), energy consumers want "a minimum threshold for third party amounts regarding customer generation and self-supply, along with claims for relief, and a clear definition of an electricity company." A "standardization of registration deadlines for allocations on the network side, self-generation, self-supply, and electricity supply" are among the VEA's requests along with "creating a standard definition of an end consumer at charging points for e-mobility" (Sec. 3 No. 25 EnWG, Sec. 3 No. 33 EEG, and Sec. 2 No. 17 KWKG), a "deadline for the use of calibrated meters in the KWKG" (Sec. 36, para. 3) and "clarification of the definition of emergency generators in terms of power generation units" (Sec. 3, No. 43b EEG).
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