“The next eight years will be crucial”

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Meeting of the Alliance for Transformation “The next eight years will be crucial”

More production capacity and skilled workers are needed to achieve the energy transition and the changeover to a climate-neutral economy. “The Alliance for Transformation aims to secure sustainable prosperity for the future,” said the Federal Chancellor after the second meeting of the initiative.

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Federal Chancellor Scholz together with DGB Chairperson Fahimi, BDEW President Wolff and the President of the German Nature Conservation Ring, Professor Niebert, at the press conference on the Alliance for Transformation

Federal Chancellor Scholz (2nd from right), DGB Chairperson Fahimi (2nd from left), BDEW President Wolff (right) and the President of the German Nature Conservation Ring, Professor Niebert (left), at the joint press conference.

Photo: Federal Government/Denzel

“Our prosperity in 2030: working together for sovereignty, value creation and resilience” – this is the overriding mission of the Alliance for Transformation. Federal Chancellor Scholz looked to the future after the second meeting of this discussion forum: “We are focusing our attention on everything that has to happen by 2030. The next eight years will be crucial for Germany,” said Scholz, because, as he noted, it was during this period that “we have to create the conditions for the transformation to actually happen”. The changeover to a sustainable, climate-neutral economy was essential to securing future prosperity, he said.

The Alliance for Transformation is a collaborative venture involving representatives from politics, business, trade unions, science and civil society. Federal Chancellor Scholz emphasised that a sense of solidarity and the participation of all citizens were vital in securing sustainable prosperity for the future. He said that the Alliance would make every effort to ensure that this transformation was successful, that renewable energies were expanded, and that the necessary structures were established for this purpose in industry and in the skilled trades.

At the second meeting of the Alliance for Transformation, Federal Chancellor Scholz, Vice-Chancellor Habeck, Federal Ministers Geywitz, Lemke, Stark-Watzinger and Heil, State Secretary Saebisch of the Federal Ministry of Finance and State Secretary Susanne Henckel of the Federal Ministry of Transport engaged in talks with high-ranking representatives from the areas of business, science, trade unions and civil society.

Renewable energies for climate neutrality and sustainable prosperity

The expansion of renewable energies was crucial to ensuring a reliable, sustainable and affordable energy supply, said the Federal Chancellor – not least to make Germany independent of Russian energy imports.

In order to make progress in accelerating the expansion of wind and solar energy, the economy needed secure supply chains and reliable production capacity, said Scholz, adding that more skilled workers had to be recruited in key professions.

Faster planning and approval

The Alliance partners agreed that top priority had to be attached to faster planning and approval, said the Federal Chancellor. The Federal Government has already launched several packages to allow accelerated planning and approval of wind power and solar plants, for example.

The President of the German Nature Conservation Ring, Kai Niebert, called for a different mentality to be adopted, not least by the authorities: "We need a ‘yes-we-can’ mindset,” he said. In order to achieve faster expansion of renewables, he said, it was crucial to get people on board at the local level. “We will achieve this when people begin to see a noticeable improvement in their quality of life as a result of new infrastructures,” said Niebert. 

“Energy made in Europe”

Germany has “everything it takes to become a pioneer and innovation driver for the essential future technologies required for the energy transition”, said the Federal Chancellor. In order to drive forward expansion, more production capacity was needed for wind and solar energy in Germany and in the EU – “Energy made in Europe”, said Scholz.

The President of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), Marie-Luise Wolff added: “We want to make Germany climate neutral by 2045 at the latest. This can only be achieved by means of massive investments, especially in renewable energy plants”. At the same time, she said, state-of-the-art power plants had to be built to cope with energy shortages and be converted to hydrogen much more quickly. In addition, she noted, orders had to be placed with German wind power and solar companies without delay: this was the perfect opportunity to expand German and European sites.

Suggestions for more production, jobs and research

As the Federal Chancellor stressed: “We need to promote new technologies and focus on strategic sovereignty.” In order to accelerate the energy transition, a task force is to provide concrete ideas on how to increase production, jobs and research in the technology sectors in Germany, while another task force will work quickly to develop concrete proposals for attracting more skilled workers for the transformation. The results are to be discussed at the next meeting of the Alliance in February and then put into practice, said Scholz.

Getting young people excited about careers in energy and technology

In order to develop, produce, install and maintain new wind power, solar and hydrogen plants, Germany urgently needs more skilled workers in the relevant professions, such as engineers, mechanical engineers and plant technicians. “We need to inspire more young people to take up professions that support the energy transition in our country,” said Scholz. The Alliance would be launching a campaign “to show how attractive these professions are”, he announced.

New incentives had to be created to get more young people to opt for a technical education, said the Federal Chancellor, adding that it was now vital for the training offensive task force to get down to work quickly. “We have to start by generating enthusiasm for technology in primary schools,” said BDEW President Wolff.

DGB leader Yasmin Fahimi stressed that the transformation could only succeed by getting employees on board. Quality was the basis for sustainable economic structures and lasting prosperity, she said, so from the trade unions’ point of view, the task force should include in its considerations an entitlement to further training, workers’ participation and collective bargaining. She also noted that the German dual vocational training system had to be preserved as a key location factor. The task force should also identify critically understaffed occupations that were in need of special support, said Fahimi.

The Alliance for Transformation is a central dialogue platform involving decision-makers from business, trade unions and the associations. With the aim of providing reliable support for the transformation process in Germany, its mission is: “Our prosperity in 2030: working together for sovereignty, value creation and resilience”. The Alliance is to promote this process on a long-term basis by putting forward concrete solutions. By organising this dialogue series, the Federal Government is also acting on a commitment made in the coalition agreement. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in February 2023.