On Monday (20 March), Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, together with Economics Minister Brigitte Zypries, opened the Third Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue in the Federal Foreign Office. With the motto “Towards a global Energiewende”, the conference brings foreign and energy ministers from around the world together with guests from business, research, administration and civil society.
The Energiewende success story
Energy efficiency, renewables, phasing out of nuclear power ‑ much is in flux in the energy sector right now, as Foreign Minister Gabriel underscored as he opened the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue. Even now, more is being invested in renewables than in conventional energy; with the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the entire sector is experiencing a transformation which will have a long-term impact.
As the Minister pointed out, the Energiewende has long been much more than just a German project. The very word Energiewende barely even needs to be translated but has in fact found its way into international usage. Not just in industrialised countries, but also in emerging economies and developing countries, renewables are becoming increasingly important. This is an important shift because energy policy is not an issue that can be addressed within the confines of national borders. We cannot combat climate change with fences and isolation, but rather with international cooperation, as Gabriel emphasised in the run-up.
Climate and economic development
For Minister Gabriel, it is particularly important that “environmental and climate protection, protecting resources and economic development are not opposite poles”, but are two sides of the same coin. The Energiewende has opened up new business sectors, the development of renewable energies has created new markets, new value chains and jobs. New investment opportunities are also emerging.
Furthermore, as the Minister added, a sustainable energy industry is also a question of global justice. This is the only way to avoid conflict over resources and underpin peace, stability and development in the long term.
Input for the German G20 Presidency
To move the Energiewende forward, absolute priority is, for the Minister, attached to implementing the climate goals in Agenda 2030 and the 2016 Paris Agreement. He went on to underscore that Germany wants to use this year’s G20 Presidency to make progress on the long-term reduction of carbon usage in the energy sector ‑ the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue is to provide new input to achieve this goal.
Third Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue
This year marks the Third Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue. It is being hosted by the Federal Government together with the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), the consultancy firm eclareon and the German Energy Agency (dena). This year, ministers, high-level delegations as well as guests from business and civil society from more than 90 countries are attending the conference.