Mixed reactions to altmaier’s eco-electricity reform plans

Mixed reactions to altmaier's eco-electricity reform plans

The recently faltering expansion of eco-electricity from wind and sun is to be accelerated again – but reform plans by economics minister peter altmaier (CDU) have met with mixed reactions.

Environmental groups on tuesday were mostly critical of a draft amendment to the renewable energy act (eeg). Business associations see good approaches, but at the same time need for improvement.

The EEG reform is to take effect on 1. January 2021 in force. Wind power expansion stalls. The main obstacles are long approval procedures, a lack of land, and protests and complaints from residents and nature conservationists.

Altmaier’s draft provides for higher volume targets so that expansion can pick up speed again. By 2030, 71 gigawatts of onshore wind power will have been installed in germany. At the end of 2019, the installed capacity was around 54 gigawatts. According to industry figures, only 591 megawatts of new capacity were added in the first half of 2020.

To ensure that more wind turbines are built in less productive locations, especially in the south, there is to be a "south quota". The newly installed capacity of solar energy is also to increase. Altmaier also wants citizens and local communities to participate financially in new wind power plants in the future. The costs for the expansion of renewable energies had to remain limited, according to the draft. The demand costs billions every year.

In 2035, renewable energies are to provide 65 percent of german electricity consumption. In order to achieve the target, expansion volumes are now to be set until 2028. In 2019, the percentage was around 40 percent, but it has continued to rise this year.

Altmaier told the "taz" newspaper (wednesday) that he was convinced that the target of 65 percent electricity from renewable sources could be reached before 2030. The faster expansion of renewable energies is also in the interest of the economy, they said.

Energy industry sees light and shade in altmaier’s plans. The chief executive of the energy association BDEW, kerstin andreae, said that it was right to give communities a share of the income from wind farms. Planned regulations for old EEG plants are positive. For the first plants, the EEG requirement expires at the end of the year after 20 years. In the case of solar energy, however, there has been a failure to provide the "necessary push," andreae said. "This is especially true for the great potential for solar energy that lies on previously unused roof surfaces."

The president of the german wind energy association, hermann albers, said that the industry is now waiting for easier approval procedures and a smooth restart of land provision in the federal states. The planned volume target for onshore wind power in 2030 will not be sufficient to meet the growing demand. There is still a threat of an "eco-electricity hurricane".

In germany, the last nuclear power plant will be shut down by the end of 2022, and coal-fired power generation, which is harmful to the climate, is to be phased out by 2038 at the latest. Without a faster expansion of renewable energies, climate protectionists believe climate targets will be missed.

Environmental associations criticize altmaier’s plan. Nabu president jorg-andreas kruger said it was not the roughest of throws. The stronger expansion of photovoltaics will not get off the ground in this way. Greenpeace climate expert andree bohling said the draft was clearly too weak to get the expansion of wind and solar power in germany back on track.

In contrast, the chief executive of the german association of municipalities (VKU), ingbert liebing, said the draft formed a solid basis for the EEG amendment. Above all, m-measures are necessary in order to increase the acceptance of the expansion. It is important that the law is now implemented in such a way that the new EEG quickly takes effect.

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