29.01.2014 – Statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin
Oton: Angela Merkel - German Chancellor
«Germany has decided to turn away from the energy mix it has had for decades, that is,
mainly fossil fuels and nuclear energy. There is no other comparable country in the world
that is forcing through such a radical change in its energy production."
Put simply, by 2050, 80 percent of electricity in Germany must be generated using
renewable sources. Along with the difficulties of practical implementation, communicatin
this project effectively is an enormous challenge because it will have an impact beyond
Germany's borders.
Oton: Viktor Elbling - Head of Economics and Sustainable Development at the German
Foreign Office
«It's important that we make it clear to our partners that we don't just see the
Energiewende as a German project, it's also a European project. The point is to connect
up networks and really create a win-win situation for everyone. After all, the energy
markets in Europe are not isolated, they are more and more connected. That means each
country has to decide what kind of energy mix it wants, but it would be wrong to think of
each country as a separate unit"
Germany laid the foundations for this revolution back in 2000, with a law promoting
renewable energy. Today 25 percent of Germany's electricity is renewable. In some places
things have been taken even further, for example, the town of Wolfhagen. By 2015 all of
the town's electricity will come from renewables sources.
Oton: Martin Rühl - Wolfhagen Power Utility:
«The theory - that we only have to use a fraction of the energy that shines on this planet
and our energy problems would be solved - always sounds so abstruse and vague. Take
Wolfhagen though, and you can see that making 100 percent of electricity supplies
renewable is actually really easy. We have four wind turbines and an 18 hectare area for a
total area of 110 square kliometres, so you can see that you don't have to cover the whole
of Wolfhagen to generate enough energy for the town.
There's something else about Wolfhagen that's very special. People are actively taking
part in the energy revolution, 25 percent of the population have acquired stakes in the
town's energy company.
Oton: Wilfried Steinbock, CitizensEnergyInitiative BEG:
«People loved the idea of being able to invest in a cooprate model. And then cooperative
grew very fast. We now have some 670 members, and every week there are people
wanting to join."
The last dividend came in at three percent, and its financial reserves are growing which
will enable it to invest direclty in training courses on issues such as saving energy and
direct subsidies.
Oton: Wilfried Steinbock, CitizensEnergyInitiative BEG:
«Any member who buys an A3plus refrigerator gets a 50 euro subsidy."
Wolfhagen goes to show that the energy revolution can indeed be put into practise. But it
also shows how important communication and citizen invovement are The small town is
something of a pilot, a Japanese delegeation has already visited, others are to follow. The
Energiewende may be a German project, but it's an opportunity for the whole of Europe
and beyond.