Germany and the Czech Republic – different paths to a secure energy future?
In light of common European energy challenges the Czech and German energy policy concepts represent two rather divergent energy strategies of how to address these challenges. While the Czech government advocates a larger share in nuclear and coal driven energy generation Germany puts the emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency measures as well as a phase-out of nuclear power by the year 2022.
Oliver Krischer, member of the German Bundestag presented the German Energy Strategy until 2050. He pointed to the high economic potential of Germany's renewable energy sector with its almost 370,000 employees as one of the country's fastest growing industry sectors. The Renewable Energy Act and feed-in tariff have allowed for a stable investment climate not only for large corporations but also for small and medium-sized enterprises, municipalities and electric cooperatives. Total investments in the sector amounted to 26.6 billion Euros in 2010. In addition, credits offered by Germany's bank KfW and tax reductions for investments in energy efficiency measures for buildings will help to put the country on the right track of decreasing the energy consumption in its housing sector.
In the Czech Republic the story is a completely different one. The Czech government tends to ignore the economic benefits from increased energy efficiency and the fact that renewable energies are getting closer to reaching the state of economies of scale. The main message revolves around coal and nuclear energy sources being “cheap” and “domestic” and thus strengthening the energy independence of the country. According to Jiri Gavor, a consultant with ENA, the Czech energy strategy stems in large part from the state-owned electricity provider ČEZ who is eager to build up the country’s energy export potential with cheap energy.