Germany

Germany

'Ill-conceived and incoherent': wind industry reaction to Germany's climate package

The clean energy industry in Germany was left unimpressed by a package of new measures designed to support the country's aim of reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

No laughing matter: environment minister Svenja Schulze is under fire from Germany's wind power sector (pic: EnergieAgentur.NRW)
No laughing matter: environment minister Svenja Schulze is under fire from Germany's wind power sector (pic: EnergieAgentur.NRW)

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Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet rubber-stamped a climate protection programme to 2030, which targets a 55% CO2 emissions reduction compared with 1990.

For 2030, the Climate Protection Programme forecasts 67-71GW of onshore wind, up from 53GW at end 2018, and generating an annual 140-145TWh of electricity.

It also raises the offshore wind target by 5GW to 20GW, which is expected to generate 79-84TWh annually.

Under Germany’s draft Climate Protection Act legally binding climate protection targets for each year and sector will be set, "making Germany the first country to have such a binding roadmap towards greenhouse gas neutrality".

For the first time, a greenhouse-gas neutrality target of 2050 will be written into law, and go beyond Germany’s current target of 80-95% CO2 emissions reduction compared with 1990 levels.

This "sets a clear signal" to all sectors to press ahead with preparations for a non-fossil fuel economy.

Federal environment minister Svenja Schulze said a binding follow-up correction mechanism would kick in as a safety net if any sector deviates from the course.

Two independent consultancies will be commissioned to assess the effectiveness of the measures.

Reaction

The assortment of climate protection programme measures approved by the cabinet "weighs in with only a third of what is needed to achieve the 2030 climate goals", said Hubert Weiger, chairman of German environment and nature protection organisation BUND.

The aims and measures set out by the Climate Protection Programme 2030 are not nearly enough to implement the energy transition and achieve climate protection, agreed Robert Busch, managing director of the association of energy market innovators, BNE.

Simone Peter, president of the federal renewable energies association BEE, said: "The government has effectively given up on its 65% target of renewables share in electricity consumption to 2030. Adding together the electricity contributions from the different renewables foreseen in the draft indicates an up to 4.5% reduction in electricity consumption to 2030. That is unrealistic."

"Consumption will increase due to sector coupling, hydrogen applications and increasing electrification in transport. Efficiency improvements won‘t compensate for these increases," she added.

The draft law does no justice to the current situation of bankruptcies, job cuts and declining value-added for the domestic wind industry, warned Stiftung Offshore, an offshore wind energy lobby group.

An additional 2GW of offshore wind is needed in the short term to use otherwise idle transmission capacity and stave off an industry slump, as well as a new target of at least 30GW by 2035 and a clear build-out perspective to 2040 and 2050, it said.

The Climate Protection Act and the Climate Protection Programme are both ill-conceived and incoherent with energy transition goals, complained Stefan Kapferer, head of Germany’s heavyweight federal energy and water federation, BDEW.

The Climate Protection Programme proposals, especially for onshore wind, will hinder reaching the 65% target for renewables share in the electricity consumption mix to 2030.

Instead of reducing barriers, onshore wind expansion is obstructed by an across-the-board minimum distance of turbines to dwellings.

The timid introduction of CO2 pricing and inadequate electricity price reductions are just as disappointing, Kapferer added.

Hydrogen

Stiftung Offshore also noted hydrogen production using wind power is hardly mentioned on in the act.

However, as part of the Energiewende, Germany’s transition to non-nuclear, sustainable power sources, the Ministry of Education and Research will pump an additional €300 million into research on green hydrogen by 2023.

Approximately €180 million has already been allocated to such research in the coming years.

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