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Now is the Time for Decisive Action

Germany wants to be climate-neutral by 2045, a good 20 years from now. The development of a climate-neutral electricity system in the next decade is crucial to achieving this goal. We therefore expressly welcome the German government’s efforts to increase the share of renewable energies in electricity generation to 80 percent by 2030, which have been further intensified by the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

Halving planning and permitting times

Despite rising approval and expansion figures, we are not yet where we want or need to be to achieve the 2030 renewables target, particularly in the key technology of onshore wind. As promised, the federal and state governments must stay on the ball, make the necessary areas available, and significantly reduce the duration of planning and approval procedures – ideally by half.

Secure grid extension

This also applies to electricity grids. In recent years, a lot of energy and money has been invested in accelerating the expansion of the transmission networks. This has been important, and we must not let up. But we also need to apply the same vigor to making the distribution grids fit for a climate-neutral future. We need to expand and modernize them and optimize their operation so that they can integrate the many decentralized generation and consumption systems that will be added across the country in the coming years.

Ensuring system stability through flexible generation

Alongside renewables and modern grids, flexible and highly efficient gas-fired power plants will be the third pillar of the electricity system of the future. With a clear transition path to hydrogen combustion, they will not only ensure Germany’s and Europe’s energy security in the medium term but will also be partners to renewables in the long term. They supply electricity during dark periods, provide important network services and thus ensure the stability of the overall system.

Ensuring the transformation of the power system through reliable decisions

The energy system has already changed significantly over the past two decades. What we have set ourselves for the next two decades goes far beyond that. Decisive action and reliable decisions are now essential to give all stakeholders the certainty they need to make the investment decisions that are now required in the short term.

From GE Vernova’s point of view, three points are crucial:

  • A future electricity market design that also rewards the provision of generation capacity and grid services;
  • The rapid development of hydrogen import, and transport infrastructure to decarbonize flexible generation; and
  • Certainty about financing and tendering conditions following the Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF) ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court.

The ruling has further delayed the final consultation on the power plant strategy within the German government. In our view, quick decisions are needed to ensure long-term security of supply and to prevent CO2-intensive coal-fired power plants from operating longer than necessary.

This article is by Stefan Hartge, General Manager, GE Vernova's Grid Solutions business