A strong voice, a strong network.
Market, competition, innovation: bne and its members are committed to these three elements. After all, continuous development is the key to success in tomorrow‘s digital and renewable world of energy. For more than fifteen years, we have been representing the interests of grid-independent energy suppliers and energy service companies in Germany. Our members operate on all levels of the value chain: from electricity and gas distribution to smart energy and other services, right through to mobility. Making sure that new business models get a fair chance is at the core of our work.
Our vision of tomorrow’s energy industry:
Tomorrow’s energy industry is competitive and customer-oriented
The energy transition is competitively organized at all levels. Only required monopoly areas such as the network are subject to transparent regulation. The customer is no longer merely a metering point, but in the center of the focus. Within the limits of security of supply, the customer determines what his energy supply, mobility and heating solutions should look like.
Tomorrow’s energy industry is CO2-free and gives CO2 a price
A central reason for the energy revolution is climate protection through CO2 savings. In the long term, by 2050 at the latest, German energy production will be CO2-free. The path to decarbonisation is open to technology, result- and competition-oriented.
The price signal should come from the EU emissions trading system (ETS). In principle, the ETS works. However, due to quantity errors it is currently ineffective and it must also cover all sectors, including heat and transport. Nevertheless, an effective CO2 price combines market economy and climate protection by sending out a long-term signal that promotes investment security and also makes the development of non-fossil solutions financially attractive. That's why CO2 pricing is needed for all energy sources in all sectors. It is to be designed as revenue-neutral as possible and double burden of electricity from ETS plants has to be avoided. In the electricity generation market, the introduction of a minimum CO2 price can also reduce the cost burden arising from the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).
As long as a minimum CO2 price is not yet sufficiently organized at European level, accompanying measures are needed to avoid jeopardizing the competitiveness of the industry. A CO2 minimum price should not be thwarted by a renaissance of nuclear energy.
Tomorrow’s energy industry is decentralised and digital
Energy generation, storage and consumption are decentralised. Each real estate is - after being equipped with a generator, storage and a consumption control - a flexibilizer. Generation, storage, trade and consumption are controlled to the second, digitally and fully automatically. Production is increasingly produced regionally. Digitization is increasingly enabling regional and local electricity trading, up to peer-to-peer supply solutions.
New business models, products and services are created in a powerful digitized world that generates data in real time and makes it available immediately. Smart Meter Gateways can be important tools for this development. However, their general conditions should not restrict competition to "behind the meter" business models or digital innovations “behind the meter”, or even make it more difficult for new players to enter the market. The rollout of intelligent metering systems (iMS) is part of digitalization, but it is not the only ingredient of this development.
Tomorrow’s energy industry is defined by sector coupling
To achieve full decarbonisation of the energy industry by 2050, the priority conditions must now be established: For the increasing use of renewable energies, the electricity, heat and mobility sectors need to be connected and the necessary plants, equipment and systems need to be set up and converted. Tomorrow’s energy industry is taking on this core task of modernization in order to align and coordinate these sectors competitively and efficiently.
The size and importance of the electricity market is growing enormously because renewable energies are used in a "power-based system". Power-to-x applications, in particular the provision of clean gas from renewable electricity, can also be a possible contribution in the context of energy transition. Large parts of the transport and storage infrastructure are available and must partly be retained as a backup for the power system, e.g. by flexible gas turbines anyway. Natural gas is therefore the fossil energy source that will accompany the transformation of the energy system the longest. The framework conditions for power-to-x plants and conversion technologies must be significantly improved.
Tomorrow’s energy industry needs smart grids and their efficient operation
Electricity grids, especially distribution grids are the foundation of the energy transition. They are the link between generation, storage and consumption. However, the growing fluctuations in renewable energy generation are making flexibility in the most diverse forms a central asset of security of supply. In order to actually make flexibility in the distribution network usable, an efficient distribution network structure with efficient distribution network operations, each with an adequate minimum size, must be pursued.
Especially in Germany with a highly fragmented distribution system operator (DSO) structure, a sustainable grid structure would consist of the implementation of joint regional grid management clusters. Those clusters would provide the basic grid infrastructure, including the boundaries in which decentralised generation, storage facilities, customers and aggregators and all other players in the energy sector ensure the efficient use of energy in a competitive and technology-neutral manner.
Under the uncoordinated approach of hundreds of individual DSOs, even the undisputed expansion requirements of many distribution networks can only become inefficient and extremely expensive. The existing Network Incentive Regulation Ordinance should provide stimulating impulses and incentives for forming such clusters. In this context, a clean unbundling is indispensable for fair competition conditions. This does not necessarily mean ownership unbundling by selling the networks. However, the less the necessary neutrality of the network is ensured by unbundling, the more this must be accompanied by strict regulation in order to reliably exclude cross-subsidies and discrimination.
Tomorrow’s energy industry means fair cost distribution
The majority of network costs are fixed costs and as such, they should e.g. be invoiced as an annual infrastructure charge to end customers. Social hardship should be avoided by accompanying measures. Modern network charges in accordance with the requirements of a decentralised energy transition are neutral and in line with the costs incurred. They do not hamper the use of flexibility. Outdated network fee structures such as the requirements of § 14a EnWG or § 19 Paragraph 2 Sentence I/II StromNEV need to be replaced by technology-open market mechanisms.
New forms of supply arrangements based on renewable energy such as self-consumption (including multi-apartments blocks and tenants), local energy communities, peer-to-peer trading or offers based on so-called power purchase agreements (PPAs) must not be hindered by outdated cost rolling systems. New solutions must be economical on their own - and not by allegedly saving system costs or shifting them at the expense of third parties.
Tomorrow’s energy industry is based on system efficiency instead of sufficiency
For decades, energy, especially electricity, had to be expensive in order to encourage consumers to save energy as much as possible. However, a CO2-free energy supply changes the strategic importance of efficiency. It is important to use electricity and, if necessary, clean gas from renewable energies in as many energy supply sectors as possible in order to reduce fossil fuels and thus CO2 emissions. The primary task of the energy revolution is therefore to consume or temporarily store energy intelligently.
A pure savings policy in the sense of electricity saving targets as a simple reduction of kilowatt hours contradicts this task. This traditional concept of energy efficiency must be replaced by goal-oriented "emission efficiency" and/or "system efficiency". According to this, it may be necessary to consume electricity at specific times in defined cases.
Yet, this does not mean that CO2-free electricity could be wasted. Even if renewable energies are CO2-free, infinite and free, the necessary installations and sites are not.
Tomorrow’s energy industry provides a price signal for renewable energy
The EEG has made renewable energies from wind and sun competitive. Renewable energy as a common source of generation must be able to compete in the future market and receive an adequate price through demand. The current EEG system lacks a mechanism that can generate the further necessary expansion of renewables through demand from the market itself. The present system uses subsidies to push green electricity into a market of fossil overcapacity. It also deprives green electricity of its acceptance by the public because the “green” attribute is "greyed out" and only shown as a virtual part in the overall electricity mix.
The future needs a system that generates a pull for renewable energy from the market and thus generates a price based on supply and demand. An additional lever to support this is sector coupling. Obviously, in the long term we cannot drive or heat with fossil-generated electricity in order to save CO2. Sector coupling needs will and must therefore increasingly demand green electricity as a fuel source. The general conditions must neither impede nor delay this.
Tomorrow’s energy industry is non-bureaucratic and characterized by a modern energy law
Obsolete standards and regulations must be streamlined and modernized. Many rules from the monopoly period and the early period of liberalization are between redundant or even harmful, while others have never been sufficiently consistent. To boost the market, consumers, prosumers, entrepreneurs and other market participants need more freedom and room for action. To ensure smooth cooperation among the many players, market roles and market participants, access and usage rules, especially at the interface between the market and regulated monopoly areas, must be standardized.
Tomorrow’s energy industry is European
bne aims to complete the European internal energy market. The internal market encompasses all stages of the value chain in tomorrow’s energy industry. In addition to storage, flexibilization and aggregation, digital solutions are used for generation, trade and transport. A non-discriminatory, cross-border trade makes the energy supply more sustainable, cheaper and above all more secure.