If the German government wants to massively increase the amount of electric cars on German roads, this will present new challenges for the energy sector. One particular problem are the distribution grids, which are currently ill-prepared for the additional demand that would be generated by an increased number of households with electric cars. This is the central finding of the latest ZEW Energy Market Barometer, a survey carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, among energy market experts.
The energy sector is currently undergoing a transformation. An opening-up of the markets, a mix of different energy sources and new levies have brought about sweeping changes in the sector in recent years. Energy providers are having to break out of old patterns in order to manage the balancing act between guaranteeing supply and ensuring both sustainability and affordability. But to what extent are these developments compatible with national and EU climate targets? How is Germany’s planned energy transition progressing economically, politically and socially? And what challenges does the energy sector still face? These are just some of the questions addressed by Dr. Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of the private energy supplier RWE on 20 February 2018 during the latest event in the series “First-Hand Information on Economic Policy” at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim.
The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany recorded a decrease of 2.6 points in February 2018 and currently stands at 17.8 points. The indicator thus still remains slightly below the long-term average of 23.7 points. The assessment of the current economic situation in Germany decreased by 2.9 points, with the corresponding indicator currently standing at 92.3 points.
Alongside families, pensioners will benefit the most financially from the planned reforms put forward by Germany’s potential new coalition government, the “Grand Coalition” made up of the CDU, CSU and SPD. If current positive economic trends continue until 2025, the age group to benefit the most from these reforms will be the over-65s, who will be on average 622 euros better off a year per household. Only if nursery school fees are completely scrapped will the 26 to 39 age bracket be better off than pensioners, seeing an increase in their annual household income of 743 euros. If the economic climate worsens, however, the 48 per cent limit for pensions will become more expensive, leading pensioner households to benefit the most with an additional 1,420 euros a year.
Merely half of the companies in the German information economy (consisting of the ICT sector as well as media and knowledge-intensive service providers) have so far dealt with the need to adapt to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will become binding for all businesses and government bodies operating in the EU in May 2018. Due to its high service intensity, the German information economy is likely to be particularly affected by the GDPR, and is thus increasingly coming under pressure to adapt to this new EU regulation. This is the result of a representative survey among approximately 700 companies in the German information economy with five or more employees, conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, in December 2017.