BOOK REVIEW: A connoisseur of the German political apparatus, Markus is well placed to be the expert judge on accomplishments made so far by our German legislature, regarding the energy transition commonly known by the term ‘Energiewende’. Incredilously, Markus enlightens us how little progress has been made by the German government. If we don’t readjust our strategy, our energy transition will lead into an energy disaster without any viable long-term strategy.
And I thought: Thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me.
German energy transition is not focused on our energy dilemma
There are three key aspects to the energy transition: cheap, clean, secure. You can only have two out of the three, never all three. In his writing, Markus points out that there is actually no public consensus what are objective measures of success of the energy transition.
To make the energy transition work, it is necessary to look for the most economical solutions and at the same time keep an eye on energy security. Ensuring environmental standards will be difficult to accomplish.
To make the energy transition progress, proper research must be conducted on the right type of energy fuel
In his book, Markus is going through a number of energy sources which can be utilized to propel the energy transition forward, among them are technologies such as waste-to-energy, solar and wind energy. They all have their positives and negatives, some of them are clearly not an option long-term due to their poor EROI. What comes to mind are technologie such as coal-to-gas etc.
He emphasizes that government has not prepared any reliable, long-term strategy. That is the main challenge.
Costs are paramount
Another point Markus has made is that industry has received preferential treatment and so far your salt of the earth type of person had to pay for the energy transition. The way the government did this was to ramp up taxes on energy consumption which make up the majority of the costs of electricity bills in Germany, generally-speaking. One has to keep in mind that there will additional costs, if one plans to expand offshore wind energy in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. New offshore wind farms will be connected to the grid and electricity is to be transported southward into the industrial centers where industry is concentrated. To go forward with the energy transition, costs must be spread in accordance to who actually does benefit from this.
Reviewing the last 4 years, only marginal progress has been made on the energy transition since 2014, which was the year when this book was written.
Rövekamp, M. 2014, Energiewende – Raus aus dem Chaos!, OCTOPUS GmbH & Co. KG, Bochum.