Small businesses and startups have an important part to play in contributing to the renewables industry, according to Senior Associate Philipp Godron of think tank and non-profit institute that supports clean energy transition, Agora Energiewende, on Wednesday.
'Renewable energy is the way of the future for many countries across the globe, and is even projected to be the only feasible solution to the pervasive problems of global warming and climate change,' Godron said.
He explained that the two main drivers for the fulfillment of the very ambitious and essential targets of the Paris Climate Agreements are government bodies and private sector businesses, although he acknowledged that established corporations are able to penetrate this sector easier in Germany.
'In the past, governments were driving this process a lot. Now, businesses are getting more involved in renewable energy as unsubsidized renewable energy is now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation,' he said.
He explained that to boost renewable investments, one of the most important agenda items of the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) next week would focus on renewables for private sector businesses.
- Energiewende as anti-nuclear step
Godron explained that Germany's 'Energiewende' energy transition project, which encourages private sector and civil participation, was in response to the deployment of nuclear energy and is now deemed an 'anti-nuclear movement.'
This stance was borne out of the major meltdown that occurred in Chernobyl in 1986, which caused international contamination and led to opposition from the German population against nuclear energy.
As a result, he explained that 'the country wants to move from fossil fuel-based energy generation to a largely carbon-free energy sector while also phasing out nuclear energy by 2022.
He added that what many international observers have portrayed as a panic reaction following the Fukushima-disaster in 2011 actually has a long history and is deeply rooted in German society.
'Germany wants to curb greenhouse gas emissions but at the same time will shut down all of its nuclear power stations, which in the year 2000 had a 29.5% share of the power generation mix. In 2016 the share was down to 13% and by 2022 all nuclear power plants are supposed to be offline,' he said.
- Civil society integration
Godron stressed the importance of collaboration between civil society and governments for renewables projects, as pursuing new energy and climate policy paths requires social awareness and enthusiasm.
'When it comes to efforts to address complex global challenges such as climate change, it is clear that to create a climate and energy policy consciousness you can not become successful without reaching civil society,' he said.
He cited the survey results of the Association of Energy Engineers' (AEE) Acceptance Survey in 2019 that reflect the positive support of citizens for Energiewende -- Germany's clean energy transition, compared to survey results in 2016.
By Elif Selin Calik