Which countries could collapse by 2027?

Energiewende: "Many countries just didn't hear the shot"

The energy transition in Europe is progressing too slowly, Brussels lacks the ambition to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. This concludes with the Heinrich Böll Foundation's “Energy Atlas”, which was published today. Cities and municipalities in particular are therefore obliged to take matters into their own hands.

The Clean Energy Package, which will determine the future of Europe's energy supply from 2020, has not yet been approved in the trialogue negotiations of the EU institutions. But experts already fear that the result will not be far-reaching enough.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation's new “Energy Atlas” is therefore looking for alternatives so that the green energy transition can still succeed. “Many countries just didn't hear the shot. They will not achieve their climate goals ”, says Dörte Fouquet from the European Renewable Energies Federation, one of the authors of the study.

The Commission's Clean Energy Package provides for two important points: a binding EU target for a share of renewable energies in energy consumption of at least 27 percent and an improvement in energy efficiency by 30 percent by 2030. “These goals are not ambitious enough, they can be achieved not at allNot achieve, ”says Fouquet.

In fact, the EU Parliament seems to be of the same opinion, in January it had taken up the cause of knocking out 35 percent in each of the negotiations with the Council. However, the Council takes a cross and would also like to weaken the obligations of the countries in the treaty. From 2020 onwards, these should no longer be specified individually, but rather defined as a voluntary “overall effort” by the states in order to achieve the climate goals of the coming decade.

The greatest potential lies in local projects

In view of the lack of ambition in Brussels from their point of view, Fouquet - like many experts - sees the greatest potential for a successful energy transition in the hands of the European municipalities.

European power grids should be decentralized, the energy market should open up even more to citizens, demands the energy atlas. Germany is very well positioned in this area: More and more municipalities are investing in local energy cooperatives, and the introduction of fixed feed-in tariffs for self-produced "community energy" has resulted in returns of five to seven percent and has thus made a significant contribution to the expansion of renewable energies in Germany.

According to a study by the consulting firm CE Delft from 2016, around 264 million “energy citizens” could cover 45 percent of the EU's electricity needs by 2050. So much for the theory, but such a change in our energy sources must be affordable.

The city of Bottrop in the Ruhr area shows that this can work. It has been called "InnovationCity Ruhr" since 2010 and plans to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50 percent compared to 2010 by 2020. Buildings there are being energetically renovated in over 300 individual projects. Energy is obtained from photovoltaics and heat pumps and distributed to surrounding buildings via intelligent energy management systems. “We achieved that in just ten years and we can also demonstrate in concrete terms: ith sustainable climate policy, the German goals can still be achieved,” says Burkhard Drescher, managing director of the InnovationCity coordination office.

How can “citizens' energy” be promoted?

Local projects like this are very promising. The report by the Böll Foundation therefore calls for the Clean Energy Package to support such initiatives.

The Commission correctly recognized that citizens would be more involved in the energy transition. However, excessive fees for network access and administrative obstacles would still have to be removed. A demand that the EU Parliament also formulates, because with regard to citizen participation there is often a lack of implementation in the member states.

“I have the feeling that people in Germany fear that a local, decentralized power grid could maraud”, says Fouquet. According to the expert, if the countries do not make any mandatory contributions to the Clean Energy Package, the EU should compensate for this through its structural funds such as the ERDF. In the next program framework 2021-2027, for example, funds could be linked to increased funding for local energy projects.

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