When Science and Politics Debate the Energy Transition – FfE’s C/sells Team Takes Stock of the Political Round Table
Implementation projects such as C/sells in particular, require a targeted debate between science and political decision-makers in order to bring the concepts developed into the mainstream. As the end of the project approaches, FfE has taken the opportunity to invite representatives of the political future to a round table and jointly explore concrete options for action for the digital energy transition. The young politicians were chosen deliberately: energy research refers to the years 2030 to 2050, and we wanted to talk to the decision-makers precisely these years!
The fact that the event, which was initially planned to take place at Alte Utting, could “only” be held as a digital event due to the current infection situation did not detract from the discussion.
The plenum was not only broad in terms of the party spectrum represented – in political color theory, one would probably speak of a “Ghana coalition” – but was also able to serve all levels from local to federal politics. Guests were:
- Carmen Wegge, deputy regional chairman Jusos in Bavaria
- Lukas Koehler, MdB, climate-political speaker of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag
- Markus Täuber, deputy federal chairman of the Junge Union
- Eva Lettenbauer, Member of the State Parliament, State Chairwoman of Alliance 90/The Greens in Bavaria
After introductory words by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Mauch and a short personal review of the project work in C/sells, Simon Köppl, who took over the moderation of the evening, confronted the guests with the opening question about the best decision in the German energy transition. There was also praise from the opposition parties for the nuclear phase-out, the EEG, and the introduction of European emissions trading, so that the foundation for a productive debate was quickly laid. At the same time, the participants pointed out that there was still a long way to go in the energy future and that further measures were needed to make the energy transition economically, ecologically, and socially acceptable.
With her presentation on the most critical findings from C/sells, Daniela Wohlschlager then opened the substantive block of the evening. She explained the transdisciplinarity of the energy transition to all guests and set the impulse for the following question and answer session. There, a lively discussion quickly developed about the security of supply, remunicipalization of grid infrastructure, rebound effects, and the limits of market control instruments. The audience was also able to actively participate via the Q&A tool and ask specific follow-up questions to the statements.
Dr. Ole Langniß provided the impetus for the second round of questions with his contribution on innovative technologies of the digital energy transition. Similarly, however, added Simon Köppl, the work in the C/sells research project has shown that in addition to testing future technologies, the optimization of existing plants also has a crucial role to play in the transformation of the energy system. Addressing these two challenges, the guests agree that field trials such as the SINTEG reallabs are a suitable means of bringing more speed to the energy transition. Even though Eva Lettenbauer and Dr. Lukas Köhler see the potential for optimization in regulatory framework conditions and openness to technology, there was a cross-party consensus that the funding for energy research is money well spent.
The political guests had one wish free for the final round. Simon Köppl received very different answers to the question of which technology or event could act as the deus ex machina of the energy transition by 2050. Markus Täuber and Dr. Lukas Köhler could imagine a breakthrough in nuclear fusion and carbon capture and storage processes, respectively. On the other hand, Eva Lettenbauer and Carmen Wegge do not want to rely too much on technological developments but used their closing statement to argue for more effective climate policies and greater citizen participation.
Overall, the FfE can draw a very positive balance of the (digital) political round table. The event successfully entered into dialogue with the political future and creating additional reach for such an important topic via the prominent guests. Even though C/sells is coming to an end, we must continue the joint exchange and ensure that the research results continue to find their way into the political debate.
For those who were unable to attend live, we have made a recording of the event available on Youtube.