Germany’s new government announces ambitious decarbonization plan

Photo: BMWI

Germany aims to accelerate the growth of renewable energy sources, especially onshore wind farms. German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck presented a plan for the decarbonization of industry and electrification of transport and heating. The new government will launch urgent climate programs that need to bring results quickly, to adequately respond to the challenging task of meeting its 2030 climate goals.

According to the current situation, Germany does not meet the emission reduction targets for 2021 and 2022, and is on the way to missing the target for 2030 by 15 percent if new measures are not introduced, Habeck said during the presentation of future government measures in Berlin. The climate targets for 2030 predict a reduction in greenhouse gas levels by 55 percent below 1990 levels.

The minister from Alliance 90/The Greens emphasized the new government faces the task of decarbonizing industry, transport, and heating. In his opinion, the cabinet must quickly adopt comprehensive climate measures in order to return to the right path to reach the climate goal set for the current decade.

Germany intends to accelerate the expansion of renewables

Additional onshore wind capacity is at the heart of the government’s emergency climate action program. Two percent of Germany’s land area must be designated to wind energy, said Habeck, as he announced an initiative for a new onshore wind law.

Installation of solar panels will be mandatory for commercial buildings and for new private buildings. Creating more space for ground-mounted solar installations is also part of the plan for the rapid growth of the two most important renewable energy sources in Germany.

The ministry plans to combine the measures into a so-called Easter package and follow it up with a second, summer package, making the rules and measures up and running from 2023.

Also high on the list in the new plan is an increase in hydrogen resources. Habeck estimated the annual consumption in the steel industry would reach 15 TWh by 2030.

Gas as a reserve energy source

Coal should not simply be replaced by gas, Habeck says. However, Germany will need gas as a backup for when there is not enough wind and sun, and until the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen is built, the minister explained.

Habeck asserted Germany would need new power plants – initially on natural gas, to bridge the period until there are sufficient renewable energy capacities. Still, the government does not support the inclusion of natural gas in the EU green taxonomy.

If the expansion of renewable energy sources becomes a “dominant public interest,” it could take precedence over other issues, such as nature conservation and animal protection, he said. Finding the right balance between nature conservation and renewable energy is a key task at the moment, Habeck argues

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