* EU's Oettinger says Germany must work with neighbours on
* Needs to align green power reforms, grid expansion,
* Must avoid over reliance on Russia for raw materials
By Vera Eckert and Christoph Steitz
BERLIN, Jan 22 Germany must turn away from its
go-it-alone energy shift and work more with the European Union
to build a cost-efficient, secure and sustainable sector,
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Tuesday.
"Germany has to make its energy transformation compatible
with Europe," Oettinger said on the opening day of Germany's
most prestigious energy gathering, the three-day annual
"Germany will only succeed and we will only get the
authority to speak for our energy interests worldwide when we in
the EU act as partners," he added.
Oettinger, a German national, has often criticised the speed
of Germany's shift away from nuclear energy after the 2011
Fukushima disaster. The shift entails supporting renewable
energy at ever-rising costs, burdening consumers with higher
prices and distorting market patterns via supply
European neighbours have watched with suspicion the
exemptions that Germany grants its industry from energy-related
costs, and other fall-out such as uncontrolled surges of green
power crossing borders which harms stability on transmission
"Across Europe, we have a huge need to catch up on
investment and technology for the energy infrastructure,"
Oettinger said. "Germany running ahead without consideration
discourages neighbours when it comes to participating."
Germany accounted for 2.5 percent of global harmful
greenhouse gases emissions while the EU overall contributed 11
percent, which meant when it came to discussing in climate
protection worldwide, its national voice alone counted little,
SELFISH GERMANY RISKS BENEFITS FOR ALL
Tasks such as power grid expansions to enable transport
across borders and future power storage - a precondition for the
EU to become more renewable-based in coming decades - needed to
be solved by Europe, not Germany and its 16 individual states.
National and state-level German politicians represented
voters hostile to coal which undermined EU-wide initiatives
especially carbon-capture and storage (CCS) programmes, where
the division among German states prompted the bloc's biggest
economy to pull out.
"I ask from Germany to return into the fold of the CCS
developers, ... it won't work without the country of engineers,"
He said that reform of the law for subsidising German
renewables and creating better power market designs to regulate
the interaction between green and conventional energy should
reflect the need for harmonisation at EU level.
"To create 28 different national capacity markets in the EU
and 16 within Germany - that would be a no-go, not with
Brussels," he said. Croatia is due to join the EU in mid-2013 as
the 28th member.
Turning to Germany's energy partnership with Russia,
Oettinger said Berlin should not drop solidarity with other
Germany receives far more oil and gas from Russia than the
EU-average and has nurtured a constructive relationship. It has
attracted direct Russian investment and secured first access to
gas arriving via the new North Stream gas pipeline.
Oettinger is a big proponent of the creation of a southern
corridor for Caspian Sea gas to find its way to Europe,
independent of Russian pipelines and has often criticised
Russia's use of energy supply as a geopolitical tool.
"If Russia continues its divide and rule ... the net effect
will be losses for Europe on the whole," Oettinger said.
(Reporting by Vera Eckert and Christoph Steitz; editing by