Members’ Corner – German Chancellor heeds the concerns of skilled energy transition professionals


EuropeOn German member ZVEH reports back from a visit with the German head of state, Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz took advantage of a flying visit to Munich to talk to the trades involved in the energy transition at the invitation of the local Chamber of Skilled Crafts. The electrical trades were represented three times over, among others by ZVEH Vice President Hans Auracher.

Most people only know him from television, but the representatives of the skilled trades who came to the training centre of the Munich Chamber of Skilled Trades on 22 October at the invitation of Chamber of Skilled Trades President Franz Xaver Peteranderl had the chance to meet Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in person. At his own request, Germany’s head of state took advantage of a flying visit to the Bavarian capital to talk with representatives from three trades that are significantly involved in the energy transition, in order to get a personal impression of the challenges linked to the heat transition in particular.

Representatives from the electrical trades, the plumbing, heating and air conditioning sector and the chimney sweeping trade were also present. The electrical trades were represented by ZVEH Vice-President Hans Auracher, who took part in his capacity as the head of the Bavarian association of electrical trades, by Ute Giese, ‘master’ electrician and Managing Director of Giese Energie- und Regeltechnik GmbH from Puchheim, and by Tobias Zach, Managing Director of the Tacherting-based company Zach Elektroanlagen GmbH & CO. KG. 

Olaf Scholz took one hour to first learn about the work of chimney sweeps and how pellet heating and heat pumps work. Ute Giese, who has long been active with the latter in her electrical company, explained why they can make a meaningful contribution to the heat transition.

However, the participants from the trades were particularly pleased that after the 30-minute presentation in the training centre, the Chancellor was open to discuss with the trades present and cam with very relevant questions that showed his interest in the concerns of the trades.

While Hans Auracher had the opportunity to raise the issue of the “shortage of skilled workers” and to point out how important dual training is as a basis for a sustainable build-up of skilled workers, Scholz signalled that he could certainly imagine making things easier with regard to skilled workers’ examinations. At the same time, however, the SPD politician spoke out clearly against lowering the quality standards in training in the interest of the electrical trades. This statement was welcomed by the electrical trades.

It was even more gratifying that the trio of electrical contractors succeeded in raising the awareness of the German head of state about obstacles in another area of the future. Giese, Auracher and Zach pointed out that the obligation to commission an expert for the certification of larger photovoltaic (PV) systems unnecessarily hinders PV expansion. After all, according to the argument of the three electrical experts, the certification of such systems would easily be technically possible by electrical companies and would also make sense because there is currently a lack of experts everywhere.

This message seemed to resonate with Scholz. After an hour, the chancellor’s entourage left the crafts roundtable to hurry to the next appointment. The impression left by Olaf Scholz was, however, quite lasting. “I found it impressive that our Chancellor listened very carefully to what the energy transition means for the individual trades and where they see challenges and hurdles,” Hans Auracher concluded.