23 Apr 2020 / MarketEveryone is occupied with one topic at the moment: the global COVID-19 crisis. Understandably so - everybody's normal routines and habits have been impacted. At Lumenaza, we have monitored the situation closely and decided early on to allow everybody to work from home. Our key priority is to ensure that our employees, their families and dear ones stay safe. This remains our focus while the first restrictions are lifted, shops reopen and children return to schools.
While staying healthy and at home are absolutely paramount, we must not forget to continue pushing for the energy transition. Recently, it was announced that renewables covered 52% of Germany's electricity consumption in the first quarter of 2020. This is the highest share of renewables ever in Germany and was mainly due to the fact that February was very windy and March rather sunny. At the same time, electricity consumption was lower due to a comparatively weak economy and a decline in industrial production in the last week of March due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Policy makers around the world are focusing on combatting a sharp recession with a major setback for industrial production. To help prevent this, they are launching economic stimulus programs. While the economic downturn may have started to affect global greenhouse gas emissions, we need to be aware that emissions rose to unprecedented levels during the economic boom that followed the global crisis of 2009.
2020 is a crucial year. The big question we need to answer is how the economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 can be solved in a way that benefits the climate. The measures taken in response to the pandemic must not make the climate crisis even more threatening than it already is. Instead, now is the time to take drastic positive action.
We believe that green distributed electricity will power the world and the numbers prove that we are on the right track. For instance, we are producing more green electricity than ever, which can be used to charge assets such as electric vehicles (EVs). In March, for the first time more than 10,000 EVs were newly registered in Germany. Developments such as this underline that customer demand is changing.
But this isn't enough. Now is the time for governments to act and design their stimulus programs in ways that support a green economy. It is crucial to invest in future-proof, resilient technologies and not in outdated industries, such as those that suffer from negative oil prices. We have three concrete demands:
First, Germany needs a comprehensive green energy bill. Instead of amending the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), we need to establish future-oriented laws - simplifying the current laws while focusing on participation and the strong community aspects of green energy. At the same time, the current regulation regarding the distance between wind power plants and residential areas, as well as the cap on solar power, make it unnecessarily hard for renewables. These rules need be changed as fast as possible.
Secondly, it's vitally important that Germany starts to take its climate goals seriously. It is imperative to make the German and European economies more resilient by implementing an ambitious European Green Deal. A clear and decisive strategy will enable businesses to plan accordingly and invest in technologies that will continue to be relevant in the future.
Lastly, a stimulus program in response to COVID-19 has to include public investments and investment programs for energy efficiency, green electricity and flexibility demand response as well as climate-friendly mobility. However, it is not just about providing direct financial support. Regulations and incentive schemes, such as flexible grid usage fees, need to be introduced that will drive the energy transition. Most of the technologies needed to avoid a drastic climate crisis already exist. Supporting these technologies to scale will pay off in the future - both financially and from a climate perspective. We need to accelerate this global transition and the prospects of new energy now.
We are in an unprecedented situation, where as a world community we need to solve two global crises at the same time. The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked solidarity around the globe, with people helping and supporting each other in an inspiring way. Let's use that spirit and continue to put it to action for global health and the environment.