Germany

Germany

Germany eyes ‘decarbonised industrial revolution’

Three-party government coalition talks focus on pushing massive renewables growth and bringing coal power phase-out forward

Coalition talks: German Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock, chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz of the SPD and Christian Lindner, head of the FDP (pic: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)
Coalition talks: German Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock, chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz of the SPD and Christian Lindner, head of the FDP (pic: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

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Renewable energy installations could see a dramatic expansion in Germany thanks to new rules speeding up planning and permitting procedures, if ongoing talks between the three parties seeking to form a government are successful.

A “fresh start” that allows for an environmentally friendly modernisation of the German economy is at the heart of the informal negotiations. 

Three weeks after general elections on 26 September, Germany is edging closer to a “traffic light” coalition government, named after the party colours of the Social Democrats (SPD, red), the Free Democrats (FDP, yellow), and the Green Party (green). 

A key pillar of the new government would be “the biggest industrial modernisation project in probably more than 100 years in Germany”, said SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz. 

The new government would aim to combat climate change by reaching net-zero carbon at the earlier date of 2045 while keeping Germany’s industrial strength intact through massively ramping up renewable-power generation. 

The shutdown of coal-fired power plants would be brought forward to 2030, with an earlier phase-out date of 2025 under consideration.

The parties are also considering the abolition of climate-damaging subsidies, the introduction of rooftop solar panels as the standard for all new buildings, and a number of administrative and financial measures to boost onshore and offshore wind power deployment.

For onshore wind, there are plans to reserve 2% of German land for its deployment, and to offer significant financial rewards to communities near renewable-energy installations. 

Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock said the talks had found common ground to initiate “a decade of renewal” for Germany. She said all three parties agreed to make climate justice and a more environmentally friendly economy a core principle of Germany’s and Europe’s economy while retaining its competitiveness.

Christian Lindner, head of pro-business party FDP, said the three partners had agreed to unlock the country’s private and public investment potential to ensure that Germany becomes “a decarbonised industrialised nation”.

The parties have said they are about to enter into formal negotiations, with the aim of forming a new government before the end of the year. Opinion polls show strong popular support for a traffic light coalition led by Scholz. Scholz has served as Germany’s finance minister in Angela’s Merkel final term as chancellor, in the outgoing CDU/CSU-SPD coaliton government since 2018.

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