The role of decentralized actors for the energy transition

GJETC discusses in Berlin how energy consumers can become energy producers and drivers of renewable power generation

Berlin/Tokyo, 24 January 2017. This Tuesday, the GJETC is meeting in Berlin. During the second meeting of the council, the members of the binational expert council are discussing the chances and challenges of a structural change in energy supply with 16 representatives of the decentralized energy industry from Germany and Japan.

“The decentralization of energy supply is a key dimension of the energy transition. In the future, there might even be a tendency that millions of energy consumers could turn into ‘prosumers’ with their own generation capacities delivering electricity to the grid at times of surpluses. Therefore, the GJETC is especially interested in studying the consequences of the energy transition and the role of decentralization in Japan and Germany,” says Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, the German Chairman of the GJETC.

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2nd Meeting of GJETC in Berlin (from l. to r.): Prof. Masakazu Toyoda (Co-Chair GJETC), Kotaro Kawamata (Counsellor, Embassy of Japan), Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter (Parliamentray Secretary of State, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, BMUB), Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke (Co-Chair GJETC)

Structural change towards more decentralized and citizen-oriented producers than in the past also offers great economic opportunities for rural areas through the local operation of biomass, photovoltaic and wind power plants. Germany has had the chance to gain extensive experience concerning the decentralization of the energy supply for several years, for example with co-financed cooperatives and bioenergy villages. In Japan, this development is still in its infancy following the next stage of the liberalization of power and gas markets in 2016 and 2017 respectively. However, the “1st World Community Power Conference” in Fukushima in early November 2016 showed a great interest also in Japan. The GJETC’s stakeholder dialogue on decentralization therefore provides a platform for illuminating the country-specific economic, social and cultural challenges and learning from each other.

Yesterday, the Council met for the first part of its two-day meeting at the Japanese-German Center in Berlin-Zehlendorf. In December 2016, the GJETC had already awarded four studies from its study program to external consortia. The topics address key energy policy and economic issues in both countries. The main focus lies on climate and resource-conserving long-term strategies (until 2050), the overall economic and social importance of an energy transition, electricity market design and the promotion of energy saving strategies. During the second meeting, the GJETC discussed the concepts and methods presented by the German-Japanese study participants.

The Japanese Chairman of the GJETC, Prof. Masakazu Toyoda, gave a preview on the Council’s work at the final press conference: “With the study concepts presented today, we have taken a major step towards a joint overall report. By the next meeting of the GJETC in September 2017, we expect tangible results for four comprehensive individual studies. Thereafter, the Council will draw its conclusions from these studies and from a wide range of expert advice documents and make its recommendations for a successful energy transition in Germany and Japan to industry, society and politics.”

About the GJETC:

In its form, continuity and size, the GJETC is the first German-Japanese project of climate cooperation. It was founded in close collaboration of hennicke.consult, the Wuppertal Institute, ECOS Consult and the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) in spring 2016 with strong support by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (German Federal Environmental Foundation, DBU), the Mercator Foundation, German Federal Foreign Office (FFO), Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and is also endorsed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). On the German side, the Wuppertal Institute and ECOS Consult support the council’s work as secretariats; on the Japanese side, the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) takes over this part. The council will convene biannually, and the next council meeting will be held in Tokyo in September 2017.

Fostering the Energy Transition: Balancing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies

German Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Steinlein opens the „German-Japanese Energy Dialogue“ in Tokyo

Energy Efficiency is the biggest, fastest and cheapest source for climate and resource protection. The new keyword of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and also for the nations striving for full decarbonization of their energy system is „energy efficiency first“. At the same time electricity from solar or wind is getting cheaper every day. How can it be ensured that both factors foster the energy transition? German and Japanese experts discussed this question in Tokyo on November 15th, 2016.

Bild2_Eröffnung des Deutsch-Japanischen Energiedialogs

Photo (from l. to r.): Akihiro Kuroki (IEEJ), Hisashi Hoshi (IEEJ), Yukari Yamashita (IEEJ), Stephan Steinlein (Federal Foreign Office),
Peter Hennicke (Wuppertal Institute), Wilhelm Meemken (ECOS Consult)

The corresponding message of global and national long-time scenarios goes: energy efficiency plus renewable energies form the critical foundation for sustainable energy systems worldwide. The IEA estimates that energy efficiency in the energy sector can and must contribute 50 percent to the global climate protection until 2030.

But does it mean that new investments into the development of renewables should be reduced and investments into the improvement of energy efficiency should be increased, because „NEGAWATTs“ (avoidance of energy consumption) are cheaper than even more green „MEGAWATTs“? How both factors can successfully contribute to an accelerated energy transition was discussed by energy experts on the “German Japanese Energy Dialogue” on 15th November 2016 in Tokyo on invitation of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) and ECOS Consult in cooperation with the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC).

 

Especially Germany and Japan as wealthy high-tech countries have the know-how, the funds, the technologies and – despite different cultural backgrounds – the civic commitment to effectively realize the goal of an energy transition until the turn of the century. This is also the reason for the German Federal Foreign Office to support the newly established German-Japanese Energy Transition Council as an institutionalized, independent expert council that is working on identifying challenges and chances of the energy transition in both countries as well as giving recommendations for policy makers in both countries.

For the German Federal Foreign Office, energy and foreign policy are closely intertwined. An energetic implementation of the energy transition reduces the energy consumption as well as the dependence on energy imports; That is why the energy transition is also a provision against international political conflicts.