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Energiewende is ‘role model and a disaster’ and not ‘thought through’ says Siemens boss

A senior boss at German power company Siemens (NYSE: SI) today conceded that his home country’s Energiewende – or energy transition – from nuclear to renewables had been a “disaster” and was “not thought through”.

But Lothar Balling, executive vice-president of gas turbine solutions, said he remained convinced that Germany would achieve its target of delivering 80 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2050.

Balling was speaking at a renewables conference at POWER-GEN Middle East in Qatar and told the audience that the decision to ditch nuclear power in favour of renewables was both a “role model and a disaster”.

“It was a very public decision and it was not thought through,” he said. He explained that since the decision in 2011 in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, the country had suffered several energy challenges, many caused by the inability of the grid to cope with power from wind farms. He said in 2009 there were 285 forced shutdowns of wind turbines – by the end of 2011 this had rocketed to more than 1000.

He said “flexible generation is the key at the moment” and added there were also significant challenges surrounding regulation and transmission.

However he joked that the famous German resilience to find solutions to problems would result in the country getting the situation “under control”.

His optimism was shared by Andreas Wiese, executive director of German engineering and consulting company Lahmeyer International, who said he was “100 per cent” sure Germany would hit its 2050 target.