Seven recommendations for the success of the energy transition

The tightened European climate protection targets and the new German climate protection law are very ambitious and require drastic and immediate measures. On the question of how these should best be designed, the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Integrated Energy Systems (CINES) has drawn up seven recommendations for the success of the energy transition. These were presented today during a web session.

What course must be set in the next legislative period in order to achieve a transformation of the energy system as quickly as possible in areas such as levies and charges, the heat turnaround or the transport sector as well as other sectors? This question is the focus of a new short paper by Fraunhofer CINES, which includes Fraunhofer IEE, ISE, ISI and IEG. Based on the energy system analysis and further energy research of the four Fraunhofer Institutes, the following seven recommendations were elaborated:

1. technology openness or clear specifications: Finding the right balance.

Long-term technology openness is an important principle for the success of the energy transition. However, the question arises as to whether the new climate protection law does not de facto set clear limits to technological openness due to the increased time pressure in the implementation of the energy turnaround. The necessary infrastructure planning requires clear directional decisions, and the portfolio of technologies that can be rapidly and strongly expanded by 2030 is limited. Policymakers must therefore have the courage to be open to new technologies in the long term, but in the short term to promote established, readily available technologies in a targeted and vigorous manner.

2. energy prices: Fundamental reforms are needed to promote sector coupling and ensure social acceptability and competitiveness.

Rising CO2 prices alone do not provide the desired incentives to avoid fossil energy technologies in all sectors. Therefore, higher electricity prices, which are currently hindering the expansion of sector coupling, should be compensated for by a reduction in state-induced energy price components such as the EEG levy and, if necessary, the energy tax. of the electricity tax should be reduced. At the same time, this could ease the burden on lower-income households.

Renewable energies: A strongly accelerated expansion of wind and solar energy is the backbone of the energy transition.

Exactly how high the demand will be depends, among other things, on whether direct electric options or synthetic energy sources are more in focus. At present, the development of onshore wind in particular should be accelerated, for example, by increasing tender volumes, designating more areas and improving the approval process.

4. heat transition: Refurbishment, heat pumps and heat grids are the key to a climate-neutral building stock.

Accordingly, by 2045 both the renovation rate and the depth of renovation should be increased, 6 million heat pumps installed and the expansion rate of local and district heating increased threefold – in the case of district heating with a particular focus on high shares of heat pumps, solar and geothermal energy, waste heat and biomass.

5. industrial transformation: A clear framework enables industry to transform to CO2-neutral production.

Without it, windows of opportunity for transformation through modernization or reinvestment in new assets cannot be seized and strategic investments cannot be made. Particularly in the basic industries, and especially in the cement industry, for which there is currently no prospect of CO2 neutrality, politicians should also work out prospects for the capture and storage of CO2. Although the technology is still not widely accepted in society, it is currently the only technically mature option with great reduction potential.

6. transport turnaround: Low-carbon transport is possible, but requires fast, clear and ambitious political action.

This includes, for example, a rapid conversion of vehicle fleets to zero-emission vehicles, the introduction of ambitious fleet limits for cars and trucks in Europe, the introduction of a nationwide speed limit of 130 km/h on motorways, or a rapid expansion of infrastructure, such as the fast-charging infrastructure for electric cars and trucks.

7. infrastructures: energy infrastructures need planning security and systemic approaches.

Whether electricity grids, heating grids for urban areas or hydrogen for industry – many energy transition options require infrastructure. A clear system development strategy is needed across all sectors that not only provides guidance but also keeps long-term energy and climate policy goals in mind. Cross-sector, integrated planning tools and processes are required for transport and distribution grids, on the basis of which efficient expansion can be implemented proactively.

The detailed presentation of the “7 recommendations for the success of the energy transition” can be read in the short paper of the same name.