Welcoming address

Time for action.

Times have changed as far as energy and climate policy are concerned: after a period in which the state was the main driver of the energy transition, with the industry seeking to slow down the pace of change, it’s now the other way around. Political measures are slow to get going and protracted discussions have sapped the collective strength for a fresh start.

Germany continues to lag behind the fi eld when it comes to climate protection. Grid development remains on hold. An agreement on the special invitations to tender for four gigawatt installations in both the onshore wind and the photovoltaic power sectors that were promised by the coalition agreement is now fi nally expected at the end of October, after quite a delay. Given the recent infi ghting about advance commitments there is now real uncertainty about what kind of results, if any, we can expect from the ‘structural change commission’ by the end of this year. Moreover: instead of focusing on competition and digitisation the government is sticking with obsolete concepts like the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) and a complicated electricity-price regulation system.

All these developments are curbing further development at a time when Europe is coming under growing geopolitical pressure. Symbol politics by the state is more of a hindrance than a help. But there are also positive signs: technology and evolving customer demands are starting to replace policy making as the main driving force of change. Thanks to data-driven business models companies can now bring supply and demand together as never before. Now it is up to the providers to get their act together.

This is why the Handelsblatt Energy Summit will be concentrating on the opportunities arising from ongoing developments in technology and in customer expectations. We want to discuss the political aspect from the perspective of how regulatory barriers can be removed in a meaningful and socially acceptable way so that greater dynamism is generated within the industry. We are looking forward to seeing you at the forthcoming Handelsblatt Energy Summit, where there are sure to be some exciting debates − and some controversial ones too.