Berlin energy demonstration attended by 16,000

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An estimated 16,000 protestors attended a demonstration in Berlin on Saturday, aimed at ‘saving’ Germany's Energiewende renewable energy policy from possible attack by the incoming coalition government.

Demonstrators marched under the united slogan “Save Energy Revolution: The sun and wind instead of fracking, coal and nuclear” as they attempted to get across a message of increasing renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency to lawmakers. The event included a symbolic protest on the lawn of the Reichstag.

While some commentators were pleased that the coalition deal struck between Angela Merkel’s union of Christian conservative parties and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) included ‘bandwidth’ targets for renewable energy generation, others felt the coalition deal would slow down the introduction of renewable energy capacity.

German Renewable Energy Association (BEE) spokesman Daniel Kluge attended the event. Kluge told PV Tech that the turnout was remarkable considering the weather was fairly poor and that the estimated turnout of 16,000 far exceeded the 5,000 to 10,000 protestors BEE had hoped to see.

Kluge described the event as colourful and while attendees marched under the banners of different organisations, all were unified by the one goal of persuading the German government to “enforce the exit of coal and nuclear”. Kluge said he felt the event sent a “good signal to the new government” and with “hard months” of uncertainty expected to lie ahead, the unity of different organisations coming together was very important..

Organisations involved in the demonstration included anti-nuclear group Ausgestrahlt, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Greenpeace, representatives from companies including wind turbine manufacturer Enercom and associations for wind, solar and biogas industries. Democratic action website Campact, which bundles petitions and is used as a tool to mobilise campaigns, also hosted a petition.

Kluge said that despite the difficult political situation expected to face supporters of the Energiewende in coming months, the mood on the day was very positive. He also said that the timing of the demonstration to take place three days after the coalition deal was announced was also a coincidence that was “timed perfectly”. The agreed coalition deal has yet to be approved by the members of the SPD, who will decide its fate in a ballot on 15 December.

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