The biggest obstacles to quickly building out renewable energy in Europe are the capacity of the supply chain and an uncertain investment environment, the head of Germany’s biggest utility RWE said on Wednesday.
The war in Ukraine and the ensuing gas and energy crisis had been a wake-up call for Europe highlighting years of under-investment into energy infrastructure, Krebber said when speaking at a conference in Norway.
Europe had reacted quickly to solve some of the immediate issues that arose last year, he added.
“We are out of crisis mode already, and we can now take the decisions for the long term transformation,” Krebber said.
However, ensuring enough new renewable supply to meet energy needs and solve the climate crisis also meant tackling two key issues, the CEO added.
“The biggest one is supply chain, especially supply chain for the new technologies,” he said.
Current projects outnumbered western supply chain capacity 3-5 times, while there are long lead times to add additional capacity.
Another problem to solve for Europe is the creation of a favourable investment environment.
“In Europe, you wake up every morning and they discuss again new taxes, changes of market design,” Krebber said.
“That is a problem because you simply want to invest billions and you don’t know what the assumptions are, and what the framework is. So you wait.”
Europe should learn from the U.S., where the framework was much clear and it was possible to take a pragmatic approach to investments, Krebber said.
(Reporting by Nora Buli and Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)