FICHTNER Talks 2021

Outcome of the FICHTNER Talks and What the German Coalition Government Needs Now

Time is of the essence when it comes to achieving the emission reduction targets that have already been firmly agreed at the political level and are binding under international law, because investments in the renewables sector are on the whole time-consuming, complex and costly. The German coalition government must therefore make haste to establish the framework in such a way that the desired private investments for implementing the energy transition can spring forth. So what the coalition government now needs is both engineering expertise and a network of dedicated people who will boldly put in substantial sums of money as well as their heart and soul. That, in a nutshell, is the outcome of this year’s Fichtner Talks, which took place in the StadtPalais Stuttgart in the week before the German parliamentary elections in September, both in-person and online.

Under the motto “Responsible Investments – Opportunity with Risk”, the event did not mince words in pointing out the enormous investments involved in transforming all aspects of the energy infrastructure. “All or Nothing” was the headline of the presentation by Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, the well-known director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Much is being demanded of humanity, because of the existing potential of about 15,000 Gt CO2 of fossil resources, only about 330 Gt can be allowed to reach the surface if the 1.5 °C target is to be met. Edenhofer called for the EU plans to be firmed up, for CO2 pricing to be implemented, and for concrete coal phase-out and renewable energy expansion plans to be drawn up quickly.

Sabine Nallinger, Managing Director of Stiftung 2° (2° Foundation), which has since been renamed Stiftung Klimawirtschaft (Climate Economy Foundation), pointed to the pioneering role played by business and argued that it ought not to be stymied by politics. Dr. Markus Klimmer, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of HH2E AG, made it vividly clear that green deals are not for number crunchers and that for the tasks ahead we need bold leaders with moral courage and preferably also “gray hair” investors.

In the presentations at Fichtner Talks 21, the panelists each outlined valuable building blocks for the energy transition from their perspective. In doing so, we found that the notions are diverse and very different in nature. The spectrum ranges from the installation of large-scale industrial electrolysis plants to EU-wide CO2 pricing with border adjustment. In my summary, I said:

“We need an open-access model for energy transition investors that combines the diverse and numerous individual investments into an overall picture.”

This would enable each investor and each politician to estimate how the complex overall system would respond to his or her project. At the same time, concrete investment plans on the generation and consumption side as well as in the grids would be supplemented with the existing infrastructure. It would make it possible to assess the extent to which the politically agreed emission reduction targets will be achieved, or whether the framework needs to be changed from the political side. In this way, we would be creating a powerful engineering tool that would show not only the coalition government which measures and which investments will achieve which systemic effects.

For the second part of what the coalition government needs now, I invite people to join the “Energy Transition Club”. The club will bring together like-minded people who truly care about the energy transition. The starting point of the idea of the Energy Transition Club is to make people aware of the many possibilities for shaping the energy transition based on holistic open-access modeling – along the lines of the Bauhaus idea. What is important to us in this respect is the interdisciplinary networking of innovative personalities as a think tank for implementing the energy transition. If we can find some co-founders for the club, we will request financial support for it from the new Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

Moderator Albrecht Reuter summarizing the Fichtner Talks 2021

Closing panel (from left to right): Dr. Martin Konermann (Managing Director of Netze BW), Michael Riechel (CEO of Thüga AG), Dr. Ulrich Maurer (Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg) and Andreas Weiler from Fichtner

October 2021

Dr. Albrecht Reuter

Dr.-Ing. Albrecht Reuter

Scientific Director of the FICHTNER Talks

Managing Director of Fichtner IT Consulting GmbH

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