An Energy Fairytale to Learn fromWed, 02/21/2018 - 17:07
Many believe Germany experienced a fairytale transformation to renewable energies. Although it has become an international reference, it did not achieve its world-class status overnight. The conversion involved a decades-long struggle that required the participation of all energy industry-related stakeholders, and relied on the general public, says Stephanus Lintker, Head of International Relations at EnergieAgentur.NRW. “The involvement of all energy industry-related stakeholders is an important pillar in the liberalization of the energy markets to create the fairest competition possible, and at the same time prevent monopolies and foster social acceptance,” he says. “From the outset, Germany paid close attention to citizen participation.”
The German Energiewende is one of the first examples of a renewable and sustainable energy matrix globally. Germany went from having 25 percent of its total energy consumption supplied by renewable energies in 2013, to 32 percent in 2016. As Mexico aims to cover 35 percent of its total energy consumption by renewables by 2024 — a 15 percent increase on 2015 levels — Germany is a clear example to follow.
Citizen acceptance was catalyzed by the incentives provided, says Lintker. “The renewable energy legislation provided feed-in tariffs from the start, enabling a variety of players to produce energy,” he says. “In particular, the establishment of many energy cooperatives by citizens led to a high level of acceptance of the energy transition in Germany.”
Mexico is not Germany, but Lintker says the social integration aspect remains important. EnergieAgentur.NRW can help with this initiative. “Mexico may have different prerequisites to Germany, but the involvement of the population is an area that should not be neglected,” he says. “If citizens can profit directly from energy projects, then acceptance grows enormously.” With the launch of neutral institutions like the EnergieAgentur.NRW, Lintker says Mexico will be able to not only increase acceptance among the population, but also support the local economy with targeted networking efforts.
For such a complex environment like the Mexican energy industry, a strong network can be just as important as international examples. To foster these connections, the EnergieAgentur.NRW provides conferences, workshops and seminars to give companies from North Rhine-Westphalia the opportunity to present themselves and their products in Mexico. Lintker’s objective is to foster contact between German and Mexican businesses to “provide a platform for industry exchange on market and technological developments.”
Germany is also a clear example of the benefits of competition and market integration, as its average financing costs for PV systems dropped by 30 percent, from April 2015 to December 2016. Lintker believes that a strong driver for cost reductions in Germany was the country’s ability to create solid relationships between competitors. “Clusters can make a huge contribution not only to the industry network but also to technological progress for individual energy sources,” he says.
EnergieAgentur.NRW, with its 27 years of experience, has helped ministries and governments in many countries, including Chile and Japan, to build energy agencies and clusters. “We hope that many companies from North Rhine-Westphalia will engage in the Mexican market in the future and export the successful model of the energy transition to Mexico, so that the local economy and the population can benefit from a sustainable supply of energy,” he says