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Effects of the turnaround in the energy industry on the transport sector

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From the energy industry's point of view, the transformation of the transport sector entails various transformation requirements.

Silvia Gietkowski © VKU e.V.

Silvia Gietkowski © VKU e.V.

The war in Ukraine has ushered in an often-cited turning point for the German energy industry, which also has far-reaching consequences for Germany and Europe. In addition to a new understanding of national security, from an energy industry perspective, the focus is on efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil and coal.

Accelerating the energy transition is therefore the order of the day. In the first half of the year, the German government pushed ahead with the expansion of renewable energies with new legislation, which was quickly put in place, especially due to the new requirements for Germany's energy sovereignty. Already announced is also the removal of further obstacles to approval and the additional acceleration of procedures. Mention should be made, for example, of the EEG reform, which creates better investment incentives for expansion, the Wind-on-Land Act, which provides for binding land provision for wind power generation, the Wind-on-Sea Act, which comes up with new expansion targets for offshore wind farms, and the amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, which simplifies the species protection assessment in favour of accelerated expansion.

What does this mean for the transport sector?

In terms of transport policy, a rethink has been taking place for some time: The German government's sustainability strategy, for example, provides for reduction targets for the final energy consumption of freight and passenger transport by 2030 (in each case a reduction of 15 to 20 % compared to 2005). Most German car manufacturers have announced the phase-out of combustion technology.

The registration figures for cars with electric drives reached a new record of around 356,000 vehicles in 2021. Their share of new registrations is now around 13.5 %. And the trend is set to continue: By 2030, the German government is aiming for 15 million fully electric passenger cars and there should be one million publicly accessible charging points. This means that the sector will have an additional electricity demand of over 40 TWh (plus 7 % compared to 2021).

What does the mobility of tomorrow need?

The federal government has been able to accelerate the expansion of publicly accessible charging points in dialogue with stakeholders and affected actors. 2021 has so far been the year with the largest increase in new public charging stations. As of 1 December, the number had risen by 11,600 to 51,000 within one year. Across Germany, a total of 63,570 charging points for electric vehicles that had completed the notification procedure of the Federal Network Agency were in operation on 1 July 2022. This has created an initial basis on which electric mobility can become a successful model in Germany. Now it is important not to let this development stall and to let the urban population in particular participate in e-mobility, because gaps in the supply of charging infrastructures are still emerging here. Especially in urban residential areas with apartment buildings, there is a lack of on-site charging options for a larger number of vehicles.

"Living & Charging" must be the focus for the normal charge

So far, publicly accessible normal charging points have dominated (54,791 vs. 10,017 fast charging points from 22 kWh, as of July 2022). The normal charging infrastructure in publicly accessible spaces will continue to be needed, but must be expanded much more in the non-public areas of the city so that people can charge their vehicle at "their" Wallbox (a special form of electric charging point used primarily in private households) for longer periods of time, e.g. overnight. "Living & charging" must be the focus for normal charging.

However, e-mobility can only achieve general acceptance if acute charging needs can also be met easily and quickly. In addition, every tenant should have "his or her" wallbox available, as many parking spaces are on public land. It is necessary to establish more fast-charging locations in the future.

What we need: a diversified, sustainable and decentralised energy supply

From the energy industry's point of view, the transformation of transport also entails various transformation requirements, if one considers the future demand for energy for the electrification of transport (there are different scenarios here, in addition approx. 175 TWh, as of 2018). Conclusion: In the long term, we need a diversified, sustainable and decentralised energy supply. The Ukraine crisis shows this more than ever. Especially since a decentralised system is more resilient to external attacks than a centralised one. The reconstruction of our grid-based infrastructures is also essential. For example, a modern and reliable power grid is indispensable for the further electrification of the transport sector.

SILVIA GIETKOWSKI

has been with the Association of Municipal Enterprises since May 2022. As a consultant for fundamental issues of sustainable mobility, Silvia Gietkowski is the contact person for the topics of alternative drives and climate-neutral mobility and fleet concepts. She completed her Master's degree in sustainability geography in Greifswald and dealt with the topic of corporate mobility management in her Master's thesis.

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Silvia Gietkowski