In their election manifestos, both Kohl's Conservative CDU and the SPD Social Democrats in opposition stressed they would make more funds available to promote the use of renewables. The SPD had by far the most radical plan, however. It intended to reshape the fiscal system, introducing progressively higher energy taxes while reducing basic tax to achieve an overall unchanged tax burden. In part, the proceeds of the energy tax would have been used to support the expansion of renewable energy. This ambitious scheme will now have to wait.
In the meantime, the new balance of power could mean that Kohl's government might be forced to take its own utterances on more support for renewables more seriously. Certainly, with the major comeback of the Green/Bündnis 90 party as the third largest party, the political pendulum will be drawn towards environmental issues.
Both major parties also vowed that the "energy consensus talks" broken off at the end of 1993 should be continued once the elections were over. The aim is for Germany's industrial and power sectors to reach a joint position on the highly controversial subjects of nuclear power and continuing support for Germany's expensive coal industry. The renewables lobby continues the fight to have a real say in these talks and may well be aided by the stronger presence of the Greens in parliament.