Expert Panel of the Central Baden Economic Region Community of Interest

Panel discussion at anniversary event on shortage of skilled workers and energy concerns.


The old E-Werk in Baden-Baden provided the setting for the event with Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Economic Affairs, Labor and Tourism, Nicole Hoffmeister- Kraut (CDU). "By 2035, around seven million people will retire from the workforce, and they will need to be replaced," said the minister, drawing attention to the expected developments on the labor market in the southwest. It is therefore important to pull out all the stops to prevent the shortage of skilled workers from worsening and becoming an insoluble problem for companies. The minister named a bundle of measures that politicians have taken together with the business community. This begins at school with career guidance for young people, continues with vocational training and further education, and is aimed not least at women, who are to be brought into full-time jobs to a much greater extent than before. Where will the energy that not only the economy but also private households need come from in the future? And what is the best way to use it? The second round of talks was devoted to these questions in front of around 100 guests at the event, including Georg Nikolaus Stamatelopoulos from the Board of Management of EnBW, the largest energy supplier in Baden-Württemberg. The expert described the current supply situation as challenging, "but better than we thought a few months ago."



In the case of gas, he said, the storage facilities were full and it was expected that the winter would be weathered well, provided that it did not bring extreme weather conditions and that gas supplies, for example from Norway and the Netherlands, were not interrupted. In addition, savings should continue to be made in consumption, and the company is doing very well in this area so far this year, with a drop of around 35 percent. Stamatelopoulos believes that the current political orientation with its focus on renewable energies and independence from suppliers is correct. However, he says, it must also be made clear to the citizens that there will still be a long way to go before this happens. EnBW expects it to take up to 20 years before Germany is completely independent in terms of energy. In many areas, the necessary technology and infrastructure are still lacking. Politicians could help decisively by speeding up the approval process. Especially since EnBW expects energy demand to rise from the current 500 terawatt hours (TWh) to 800 TWh by 2040. Alfred Veith made it clear that the expansion of alternative forms of energy is currently stalling in many places. His company in Bühl, which specializes in building technology, installs heat pumps in private households, among other things - if he can get the products delivered at all. Because currently his customers have to reckon with months of waiting time. "That's frustrating for everyone," says Veith. And when enough heat pumps are actually delivered, there is sometimes a lack of skilled workers to install them. Which in turn closes the circle of problematic issues in the economy. 


Author & picture: Jürgen Volz / Badisches Tagblatt