Germany

Germany

Watchdog slams economy ministry for energy transition failures

GERMANY: The federal audit office (FAO) has sharply attacked the federal economy ministry's handling of the Energiewende, the transition to more reliance on renewable energies.

The federal audit office (FAO) monitors the federal budget and expenditure, which amounts to around €600 billion a year
The federal audit office (FAO) monitors the federal budget and expenditure, which amounts to around €600 billion a year

Despite considerable staff input and financial expenditure — running to €34 billion in 2017 — "most of the national 2020 targets will not be met" stated the FAO in a 50-page report released on 28 September.

The economy ministry has been the responsible authority for nearly five years, with 34 departments in four units, plus the involvement of five other ministries and the federal Länder.

The ministry's claim that the current system of coordination is effective and efficient is belied by the significant shortfall in meeting Germany's 2020 climate and environment targets, the FAO stated.

In view of dynamic changes arising from the energy transition, necessary amendments to some 26 laws and 33 ordinances — often with granular detail on energy generation, storage, transmission, distribution and consumption — are not keeping pace.

Apart from calling for coordination groups within the economy ministry and between the ministries, federal and Länder governments, the FAO recommended the ministry ditched detailed rules in fabour of a broad legal framework, and looked into using a general CO2 pricing scheme as an instrument to implement the Energiewende.

The federal government should also present a scenario for a world without the Energiewende to make clear its costs to the state, including the posititive aspects such as avoided climate change costs, stated the FAO.

Unless action is taken directly, the national and international public "could get the impression that Germany is not capable of organising and implementing the Energiewende."

The FAO monitors the federal budget and expenditure, which amounts to around €600 billion a year. It issues neither directives nor penalties, but in 90% of its investigations, the federal parliament agrees with its arguments and conclusions, it stated.

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