04 September 2019 | The energy transition has stalled. To overcome the problems, the energy system as a whole must be reformed. This is shown by a new study by the Reiner Lemoine Foundation (RLS). In the study, the authors get to the bottom of the structural barriers of the transformation. To this end, the overarching developments in the energy market in recent decades are compared with the future requirements of a decarbonised energy world. The review on the Energy System Transition, which was compiled by the Reiner Lemoine Institute (RLI), shows systemic obstacles of the energy transition and possible solutions.
System Conflicts at the turning Point towards the Renewable Energy System
“We are currently in the middle of a shift from the conventional energy system towards a renewable energy system,” explains Kathrin Goldammer, Managing Director at RLI. “So far, attempts have been lead by the idea to integrate renewable energy into the conventional energy system. But this approach is reaching its limits. A transformation of the entire energy system has to take place, making it suitable for renewable energy,” continues Goldammer.
While the conventional energy system was characterized by a few fossil-nuclear large-scale power plants, electricity grids and passive consumers, a decentralized, renewable and sector-linked energy world has completely different requirements. Many new applications are stuck in structural dead ends, be it storages, flexible tariffs, regional bottleneck management, citizen energy or tenant electricity models. Regulatorically, these have so far been treated as alien parts of the energy system. In order to realize a sustainable energy supply, however, it is necessary that flexibility, sector coupling and social participation become integral aspects of the energy system.
New ways of thinking and political visions for the energy system change
“Without a fundamental turnaround in the energy system, the energy transition will fail. This includes uncovering and overcoming traditional ways of thinking. The policy-wise necessary, technically possible and socially desired changes have to be tackled courageously and new framework conditions have to be created. The globally recognized flagship project “Energiewende” in Germany has to shift into becoming an energy system transition project”, Annegret Jatzkewitz, head of the Reiner Lemoine Foundation, summarizes the findings of the study.
An English summary of the study is available here, the full study can be downloaded here: https://www.reiner-lemoine-stiftung.de/themen/#studien (in German)
© Photos: RLI