What is the energy policy of Germany? What are the objectives of the German energy transition and is it successful? Can and should Bulgaria copy this model?
Dr. Helge Jörgens, a leading German expert in the fields of energy, climate change and environmental policies, answered these and many other questions during his public lecture “The German Energy Model – a Possibility for Bulgaria”, which took place yesterday in Sofia. Organizers of the event were the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sofia and the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza.”
“Today the world faces a difficult choice – more fiercely to compete for dwindling natural resources or to search for new energy sources, to continue neglecting Earth or to fight climate change. This choice, which all of us make, not only as nations but also as citizens, determines how future generations will live”, said at the opening of the event Dr. Irina Alexieva, Executive Director of the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”. The Chairman of the BSoP Sasha Bezuhanova stressed that sustainable low-carbon growth was the formula around which we should not only seek solutions, but also explain people how these policies change their lives.
“The European Union has clear targets for reducing emissions and one of the conditions for this is international cooperation,” said Peter Kolb, Deputy Head of the Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sofia. He added that 2015 was crucial for policies relating to climate change.
“Our goal is during the high level climate conference, which will be held in Paris at the end of the year to achieve universal and legally binding climate agreement, which aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees.”, said in a special video address the Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter. According to her, each state must assume its responsibility and the German model is one of the best examples on how to achieve EU targets for increasing the share of renewable energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
“Global warming to be kept below 2 degrees is an ambitious task that can be achieved from one side by intergovernmental negotiations and on the other by decentralized actions of national governments”, said during his lecture Dr. Helge Jörgens. He presented the key elements of the so-called “German energy transition” – until 2022 to close all nuclear power plants, the share of renewables in the energy mix of the country to increase to 60% in 2050, greenhouse gas emission reductions of 85-90 percent until 2050. For comparison, the share of renewable energy is currently 25 percent and the number of jobs created in the sector about half a million.
“The energy transition in our country is not a panic reaction after the Fukushima accident, but has a long history and through it Germany reaffirms its role as a global pioneer in the field of energy and combating climate change”, said Dr. Jörgens. On the question whether Bulgaria should copy the German model the answer was negative. According to him, countries like Germany and Denmark can serve only as models of energy transition on which other countries to navigate.
“Strong and stable political leadership and civil society support are of a crucial importance for the success of changes in energy policy”, said Dr. Jörgens. According to him there are some more important things: selection of tools that are used to promote renewable energy, shifting the focus of public debate from bills to the benefits of green energy, highlighting opportunities for households and small and medium-sized companies to produce their own electricity, establishment of legal and administrative conditions for easy connection to the grid.
The lecture of Dr. Jörgens was part of a series of public lectures organized by the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza.”