The most significant barriers to rapidly expanding renewable energy in Europe are supply chain capacity and an uncertain investment environment, according to Markus Krebber, CEO of Germany's largest utility RWE.
The Russia-Ukraine war and subsequent gas and energy crisis was a wake-up call for Europe, exposing years of underinvestment in energy infrastructure, Krebber said at a conference in Norway.
He said that Europe had responded rapidly to address some of the urgent difficulties that occurred last year.
"We are out of crisis mode already, and we can now take the decisions for the long term transformation," Krebber added.
Yet, providing enough new renewable supply to meet energy needs and tackle the climate crisis required addressing two fundamental issues, according to the CEO.
"The biggest one is supply chain, especially supply chain for the new technologies," he stated.
Current projects outweigh western supply chain capacity by 3-5 times, and adding more capacity has considerable lead times.
Another issue that Europe must address is the formation of a favorable investment environment.
"In Europe, you wake up every morning and they discuss again new taxes, changes of market design," Krebber remarked.
"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 could learn from the United States, where the framework was much clearer and it was feasible to take a more pragmatic approach to investing, Krebber added.