The other day at an Energieküste infrastructure forum. It was a lively exchange - the grid expansion for green energy is being pushed ahead at full speed. Tobias Goldschmidt, Minister for Energy Transition, Climate Protection, Environment and Nature, who invited with the Energieküste to the forum, is standing a little apart. He has a huge map in his hand, which he is studying intensively.
"Hello, Mr Goldschmidt, what are you doing? Are you looking for green meadows for the next green projects?"
Tobias Goldschmidt laughs and folds up the map. "Moin, Mrs Voss. In fact, I'm looking for interesting locations for companies from the renewable energy sector to settle here, as interest in Schleswig-Holstein as a location is currently growing steadily." That's right, where there is a lot of renewable energy, the development of further locations for future industries is only logical, I think. Apropos: "What do you actually think of the Green Deal Industrial Plan that Brussels recently presented? In particular, the intention to simplify regulations and facilitate access to funding," I ask.
Tobias Goldschmidt takes a deep breath: "I am pleased about the initiative from Brussels, because Europe can only remain competitive if we invest in climate-neutral technologies in time and sufficiently. It is therefore particularly important to no longer focus only on the production of climate-friendly energy, but above all to focus on an increase in manufacturing capacities for energy production plants in Europe. Here, Germany and Europe have fallen behind the competition from Asia. We need to catch up, all the more urgently against the background of the increasing supply chain problems. Previous policies have proven to be too short-sighted and endanger the competitiveness of our industry. European state aid law in particular is a very tight corset. This is because companies want and need to rebuild their processes quickly and thus invest in their own competitiveness. As an energy-producing state, Schleswig-Holstein can benefit from the EU Commission's plans, both in terms of strengthening the companies already present in the state and with a view to attracting new companies."
Interesting, Minister Goldschmidt is well informed. I'll get straight to the point: "In Schleswig-Holstein we've already made great progress with the energy transition. However, the problem of the lack of skilled workers could slow us down a bit. Do you think the measures for qualifications in the Green Deal Plan are sufficient?"
Tobias Goldschmidt: "I think it is important and welcome that the EU's Green Deal Industrial Plan addresses the very diverse challenges in parallel. Simplifying the regulatory environment, improving access to finance, creating resilient supply chains and also enhancing competences must go hand in hand. In the field of education, this is mainly about developing new skills at all levels - at universities as well as in the craft sector. The projects in Brussels set a good framework. The challenges at the state level are nevertheless considerable."
Schleswig-Holstein also has advantages in this respect. Not least the high quality of life. I would like to know one more thing: "Keyword 'electricity market design'. Will you participate in the 'Climate Neutral Electricity System Platform' that Federal Minister Habeck just launched?"
Tobias Goldschmidt: "Schleswig-Holstein is actively involved in this process whenever possible. We are focusing on three areas: security of supply, affordable energy prices for consumers and the goal of climate neutrality in 2040. In Schleswig-Holstein we can use the wind and the sun for free, so consumers in our state should also benefit from low electricity prices. We have already proposed concrete solutions for this in the past and will continue to work on them with our colleagues in the federal government."
The District Administrator of Dithmarschen, Stefan Mohrdieck, is approaching and waving. Tobias Goldschmidt sees his chance to escape my questions. "I have to go, Mrs Voss. See you soon." Always in action for the green future, he hurries away.
Many thanks for the interview!