Energy change needs many players

Energy change is an immense social challenge – and needs a corresponding number of very different players to contribute and take on responsibility. It involves changing the whole infrastructure of energy production and transport. Consumers must also changeover.

Local orchestra at the wind power plant in the Druiberg energy park. Photo: Heinrich Bartelt, www.energiepark-druiberg.de

 

Network Operators

The four transmission system operators in Germany, Tennet TSO GmbH, the 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, Amprion GmbH and EnBW Transportnetze AG, all have a key role in energy change. They will all be under obligation to cooperate well with distribution network operators – and in many cases, with public utility companies and local authority corporations.

Politics

It will be up to policy makers to create new parameters and economic incentives as quickly as possible, and thereby facilitate the future integration of increasing amounts of renewable energy into the grid. Policies should not be oriented to short term gains in efficiency. Rather, central concerns  must focus to a greater degree on long term benefits for the economy. Grid upgrading and expansion needs to be designed to stimulate innovation, and at the same time incorporate ecological and social criteria. 

Public utility companies and local authorities

Concert at the wind power plant. Photo: Heinrich Bartelt, www.energiepark-druiberg.de

Public utility companies, districts and local authorities should all be involved at regional level. Instead of opposing change, they could contribute by drawing up criteria for the effective use of sunlight, wind and biomass in their locality. At present, researchers are looking for model regions where a full supply of energy from renewables can be tried and tested. Solutions will necessarily be very different according to regional conditions. However, the experience gained in one region will certainly be applicable to many other places. The challenge is to make use of this kind of pioneering experience and continually develop it further.
The motivation of everyone concerned is essential to progress. The central premise must be to keep planning groundwork transparent, fair and accessible to everyone.