Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2019

The energy transition is the future

In Berlin, a two-day conference began on Tuesday that will be exploring the global consequences of the energy transition. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Mass and Federal Economics Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier opened the fifth Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue at the Federal Foreign Office.

Federal Economics Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier and Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Energy Transition Dialogue in Berlin

Federal Economics Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier (at left) and Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Energy Transition Dialogue – the global energy transition is changing our geopolitical framework

Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bernd von Jutrczenka

"The energy transition is not just the move from fossil fuels to renewables – it is also shifting what had previously been seen as political constants," explained Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The use of renewable energy allows states to ensure more secure energy supplies. This means that energy, which has for decades been a geopolitical instrument, will see its importance declining.

Federal Economics Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier said, "A successful energy transition must be global and holistic. Holistic means that it must be successful across all sectors and that socioeconomic considerations must always be factored in." Ongoing international cooperation is indispensable in this context, he declared.

The international Energy Transition Dialogue brings together ministers and high-ranking delegations from more than 50 countries as well as representatives of the business community and civil society. Over a period of two days they discuss the opportunities offered by the global energy transitions and the challenges it will entail. What geopolitical developments will emerge? How can the energy transition be successful in all sectors? How can digitalisation help make the energy transition more efficient? How can structural change be rendered socially acceptable?

Beginning of the end for fossil fuels

Climate change is exacerbating risks and jeopardising peace. Droughts, forest fires, flooding and extreme weather events are occurring increasingly frequently. In many places around the world people are losing their livelihoods and being forced to flee their homes.

Against this background Heiko Maas called for more international cooperation in the fight against climate change. Climate policy has long ceased to be only environmental policy. Since the #fridays for future at the latest it has become a social policy issue.

Restructuring the energy sector, achieving climate targets

According to a study published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), about 86 per cent of the world’s electricity needs could be met by renewables by 2050. This will, however, require massive investment. More than one billion electric vehicles will need to be on the roads around the world, more electricity will have to be used for heating and renewable hydrogen will need to be developed, which could replace kerosene or marine fuels.

2000 guests from 100 countries

The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) is hosted by the German government and is a joint initiative of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar), the German Energy Agency (dena) and eclareon. Over the two days a total of 2,000 guests from 100 countries will be taking part.

Some of the speakers included the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Svenja Schulze, the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Francesco La Camera, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Dr. Fatih Birol, the CEO of Siemens AG, Joe Kaeser, ministers from other states, CEOs of international businesses and investors from international investment companies.

Programme: www.energydialogue.b