World Energy Council Sees Decreasing Energy Security in Germany

Risks to energy security in Germany are increasing significantly, warns a study commissioned by the German Section of the World Energy Council.

The study was prepared by Energy Environment Forecast and Analysis Institute (EEFA), an independent research institute which is primarily concerned with issues of energy and environment. EEFA is also commissioned to draw the energy balance of Germany, coordinates the compilation of the national statistics of energy for the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris and provides current data of the national greenhouse gas inventories.

For the first time, the study not only researched the dependency on energy imports, but also the susceptibility of the energy infrastructure to disruption and the risks for the end consumer. It found that the supply risk more than doubled from 1995 to 2008, leading to a low rank for Germany in an international comparison.

The study examined the impact of different energy concepts on energy security with a wide range of methodological approaches. Under the current political framework, a further increase to the risk of energy security of almost 50% is to be expected, EEFA concluded.

To counteract the risks to the energy supply, EEFA proposes

  • An extension of the operating time of German nuclear power plants to 60 years as the best way to ensure energy security. Compared with the reference scenario, the increase in risks to the energy security could be more than halved, EEFA believes.
  • Investments in maintenance and the expansion of the energy infrastructure, which are of vital importance to avoid risks, according to EEFA.
  • The intelligent use of local coal and the expansion of renewable energy sources, as they make important contributions to the reduction of the supply risk.

“The extension of the operating time of nuclear power plants is not only necessary for economical and climate protection reasons, but also because it would contribute to energy security in Germany”, says Hans Peter Villis, member of the board of World Energy Council Germany and CEO of EnBW AG, one of the four major utilities in Germany that operate nuclear power plants. He called for an energy policy that balances the growing challenges for a safe energy supply better with the goals of a competitive energy industry and climate protection, the aims that thus far have dominated the energy discussion. Mr. Villis concluded that only a balanced energy mix will help to become less susceptible to an energy crisis.

Source: World Energy Council/Weltenergierat – Deutschland