Dr. Leonhard Birnbaum, Member of the Executive Board of E.ON SE

The “Energiewende” isn’t a German phenomenon. Shifting from a centralised energy supply based on fossil fuel and nuclear energy to a decentralised network drawing on renewables may turn out to be particularly expensive for consumers in Germany, but it is not unique. Energy revolutions are taking place all over the world.

The real driver behind these energy revolutions isn’t politics. It’s technical innovation like renewable energies, fracking, high performance storage, and the digitisation of grids as well as the overall energy system.

Yet politics can make a big difference where framework conditions are concerned. When we think about energy policy in Europe, we need to think about creating conditions for innovation.

We don’t need micro regulation, neither from Brussels nor from the national capitals. Europe should not try to plan the future, but should concentrate on enabling innovation.

If we get that right, it’s good news not just for energy but for all other sectors of the economy as well. Sustainable innovations in the energy sector can go a long way towards securing Europe’s place in the world.

Leonhard Birnbaum, Member of the Executive Board, E.ON