Ensuring energy security is an essential factor in the success of the low-carbon energy transition around the world. Both Germany and China have faced energy security challenges in the last twelve months: Germany due to the urgent need to substitute gas and oil supplies, and China due to energy and electricity supply shortages in late 2021. Both Germany and China are making great efforts to ensure energy security via new laws and regulations, as well as by improving the infrastructure and operation of electric power systems.
Endorsed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the National Energy Administration (NEA) and the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme of GIZ, the Sino-German Energy Partnership and the Energy Transition Project of GIZ, together with the Legal Department of the China Electricity Council (CEC), jointly organized the workshop “Sino-German Energy Policies, Laws and Mechanisms in Supporting Energy Transition” on Aug. 31, 2022. The event focused on the policy making, legislation, rules and regulations in the context of the energy transition, and discussed on how these can better incentivice renewable energy development, effectively support energy transition, and ensure energy security in the meantime.
Representatives from the National Energy Administration (NEA) of China, the National People’s Congress (NPC), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Justice and the German Embassy in China, energy and legal experts from the German Energy Agency (DENA), Chinese central enterprises in the energy sector and academic institutions and think tanks from both countries joined the event and shared their insights on this topic.
During the workshop, Mr. Liang Zhipeng, Deputy Director General of the Department of Law and Reform of the National Energy Administration of China, and Ms. Andrea Juenemann, Minister Counsellor of the German Embassy in Beijing, delivered opening remarks on behalf of the Chinese and German governments. Both sides expressed the need for an in-depth exchange of energy-related legal frameworks between China and Germany in the process of energy transition, and for mutual learning and reference. They called for a joint contribution to global sustainable development, to protect the global climate.
In the following session, Dr. Tim Mennel from the German Energy Agency (DENA) introduced the policy framework, specific targets and relevant laws and regulations related to energy development and climate protection in both Germany and EU, as well as their positive impact on promoting the German energy transition. Prof. Yang Lei from the Energy Research Institute of Peking University presented the guiding principles of China’s energy transition and the achievements made in the past ten years; and made recommendations on the legislative framework needed to promote energy transition, ensure energy security, and achieve carbon neutrality.
The first panel discussion was attended by Dr Camilla Bausch, Scientific & Executive Director of Ecologic Institute Europe and Professor Dr Michael Rodi, Professor at the University of Greifswald and Founder and Director of the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM) on the German side and Professor Dr Li Yanfang, Director of the Energy Law Centre at Renmin University and Mr Zhang Lin, Vice Director of the Development and Environmental Resources Department of the CEC. The panel discussed the role of policy and legislation in ensuring energy security in the context of the energy transition in China and Germany. The first panel discussion was moderated by Dr Marco Haase, Programme Director of the Legal Programme.
The second panel discussion was about legal mechanisms and policy frameworks to support the energy system during the energy transition. Participants were Dr Christoph Maurer, from Consentec, a consulting firm specialising in energy issues in electricity and gas supply, and Mr Peter-Philipp Schierhorn, senior engineer at Energynautics, a research and consulting firm on the integration of renewables into electricity grids on the German side, and Shang Nan, researcher at the China Southern Grid Energy Development Research Institute and Li Dan, executive director of the China Renewable Energy Industry Association on the Chinese side. The moderator was Anders Hove, Programme Director of the Sino-German Energy Transition Project.
In summary, the experts pointed out that legislation to promote the energy transition should support the following: The role of renewables in the energy mix should be better defined, an appropriate legal framework on energy transition should be established and the role of market mechanisms should be promoted in the energy transition process. Another suggestion is that China should speed up the revision of the existing renewable energy law to adapt it to the new trend of promoting and accelerating the energy transition.
In the concluding remarks, Mr. Pan Yuelong, the Chief Supervisor and president of the Legal Branch of CEC addressed that China should further improve its energy legislation framework, and policies system of carbon peaking and neutrality to support a clean, low carbon, secured and efficient modern energy system. Mr. Liang Zhipeng, Deputy Director General of NEA, pointed out that China is still in the initial stage of energy transition, and as the speed of transition accelerates, it will encounter new challenges that require more legal regulation and guidelines. This requires energy authorities in China and Germany to continue strengthening the in-depth exchanges and cooperation in the legislative development in the energy sector.