The real estate industry and the energy transition
Already back in 2000, the German federal government decided to set a time limit for the use of nuclear power, subsequently often referred to as a ‘transitional technology’. This means that – dependent on economic aspects, reactor safety and the development of renewable energy – nuclear would gradually be phased out.
Milestones on the way to the energy transition
In September 2010, the German federal government adopted the ‘Energy Concept’, a comprehensive strategy that called for the replacement of conventional energy sources by renewables by the year 2050. It covers the challenges of the energy efficiency of buildings, infrastructure and energy research as well as issues related to electricity trading.
In March 2011, the reactor catastrophe in Fukushima caused worldwide alarm and prompted the German federal government to further tighten the legislation. This resulted in the socalled ‘Energy Transition’: This collection of resolutions and draft legislation not only called for an earlier phase-out of nuclear energy, but also gave a specific timetable for measures to expand alternative energy sources.
Current consumption in Germany is estimated to be approx. 600 million megawatt hours per year. Of this, industry, trade and commerce account for some 44 percent, transport for 28 percent, and households and other properties for the remaining 28 percent. Some 80 percent of the base load is currently generated from conventional sources, that is nuclear, coal, oil and gas.
Four key areas of action
If Germany is to achieve its goal of generating some 50 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030 – and 80 percent by 2050 – the proposed courses of action will have to be closely coordinated. Organizing this process as an element of the national economy is the role of government – as is securing finance for the necessary grid expansion. Transregional power transmission lines as well as regional and local distribution networks will have to undergo a massive upgrade to be in a position to handle the growing amount of decentrally generated green electricity. The current subsidies for green energy will have to be adjusted in proportion to their contribution to overall power supply.
On the other hand, industry must ensure that renewables become competitive. This will require a fundamental change in subsidy policy and of the (German) Renewable Energy Act.
When related to the energy transition, ‘the blue way’ means subordinating individual interests to a goal-focused common process, whereby goals are regularly reviewed and, if necessary, optimized during the course of the process. Rigid adherence to existing rules and guidelines will not lead to success.