Rudolf Hielscher

Head of Brussels Office
Senior Advisor to Reinhard F. Hüttl, President Euro-CASE


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acatech POSITION (in German)

acatech POSITION (in English)

Energiewende: Günther Oettinger gives speech at acatech event in Brussels

Brussels, 26 November 2012


Europe is the key to a financially viable implementation of a transition to sustainable energy based on efficient regulatory policy in Germany. Experts from the worlds of science, business and politics discussed this aspect with EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger at an event organised by acatech, National Academy of Science and Engineering (Germany), in Brussels on 26 November. In its position paper on efficient regulation for the energy system, the academy recommends reviving the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) as the main mechanism for promoting a lower carbon energy supply in Europe. Support systems for renewable energies should be market-based and harmonised throughout Europe.


Without Europe there will be no financially viable implementation of the turnaround in energy policy in Germany. This was the main message of Christoph M. Schmidt, member of the German Council of Economic Experts, at a high-level event with EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger in Brussels. He presented the results of the acatech Position Paper “Towards a financially viable transition to sustainable energy”. The position paper makes recommendations for efficient regulatory instruments at national, European and international level. Above all, the EU Emissions Trading System must be revived as the preferred promotion mechanism for green electricity technologies. Strengthening this instrument and the European-wide harmonisation of market-orientated support systems in the member states, such as for instance a quota model for renewable energy, will permit the transition to sustainable energy to be implemented in a more targeted and economical manner. It is only in this way that Germany can also live up to its international pioneering role in increased sustainability in energy supply.

EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger thanked acatech and Christoph M. Schmidt for their important contribution to independent science-based policy advice on German and European energy policy. He confirmed that the cross-border collaboration on energy policy was a perfect example of how the EU offers added value for all member states. A parochial attitude to energy policy was contrary to the idea of the Internal Energy Market and made the transition to sustainable energy unnecessarily more expensive for European consumers.

The panel of high-ranking experts including MEP Christian Ehler, Matthias Dürr, RWE, Harald Schwager, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF, and also Bernard Tardieu from NATF, French National Academy of Technologies, discussed the prospects for German and European energy policy in front of an audience of about 150 guests. Ottmar Edenhofer, Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research and IPCC, referred to the importance of national and European efforts on global climate protection: “Only if we succeed in building a major international coalition for climate protection will the transition to sustainable energy finally make an effective contribution to combating the global climate problem.” The more efficiently the transition is implemented in Germany, the greater the opportunities for a comprehensive international commitment on climate protection.

acatech President Reinhard F. Hüttl pointed out that there are still many unanswered questions on the specific design of the energy transition. In his view, the academies can make a major contribution by giving expert advice, independent of any political or social bias, orientated towards the common good and based on scientific findings. Reinhard F. Hüttl announced that the National Academy of Science and Engineering in Germany will increasingly provide its technical expertise in the field of science and business for the energy transition in a new  initiative.

The acatech position paper “Towards a financially viable transition to sustainable energy” was prepared by a group of renowned economists and technical scientists in a project chaired by Christoph M. Schmidt, chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts.