Industry takes stand against energy plans

GERMANY: Members of the German wind industry will protest today and on 2 June over the proposed changes to the renewable energy act.

Enercon employees in Aurich protest against the proposed legislation
Enercon employees in Aurich protest against the proposed legislation

The German wind and renewables sector is up in arms over the German federal government's restrictive outlook for wind and renewables expansion in the draft revision of the renewable energy act EEG 2016 due to be passed later in 2016.

The draft legislation relegates onshore wind to a supporting role, dependent on developments by all other renewables.

More than 170 wind and renewables organisations across Germany are participating in a "one-minute warning" action today (25 May) with the joint support of industry trade union IG Metall and the German farmers federation Deutschen Bauernverband.

The disputed issues include a potentially sharp reduction in onshore wind growth, an up-to-7.5% one-off reduction in onshore wind payments planned for the first three months of 2017, and plans to use transmission grid bottlenecks as a reason to slow renewables growth instead of speeding network expansion or seeking other solutions to the bottlenecks.

Workers at Enercon plants across Germany took part in the action, the manufacturer said. "Together we are sending out an urgent message to the government," said Enercon managing director Hans-Dieter Kettwig.

For onshore wind energy, the planned calls for tender will only be made for the share of megawatts left over by the other renewable energy sectors. This would mean a drastic reduction in the number of installations in the domestic market, Kettwig said.

Many medium-sized businesses would certainly withdraw from the resulting insecure market, with a negative impact on jobs at manufacturers and suppliers. Progress in the decentralised energy transition to increasing reliance on renewable energies would be hindered, its acceptance by the wider German population would be reduced, and the federal government will have difficulty reaching its climate protection targets, he warned.

Enercon pleads for an adequate share of tendering be allotted to onshore wind energy in the tendering process – at least 2,500 MW gross – to ensure a constant progression of onshore wind turbines installations in Germany and secure jobs as well as maintain continued growth.

On 12 May, the federal government failed to reach a consensus with the premiers of the 16 federal states over the draft law, and set a date for renewed discussions on 31 May.

The renewables sector plans a follow-up demonstration in Germany's capital Berlin on 2 June.

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