Cuts will “starve” renewable energy industry, say German ministers

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Alterations to Germany’s green policy are causing outrage. The country’s environment minister, Norbert Röttgen, has rejected the economy minister’s calls to cut renewable energy subsidies further. Economy minister Philipp Roesler has proposed that Germany should have an annual ceiling of 1,000MW although some ministers have argued that this would “starve” the industry, following a record installation of 7,400MW of solar panels last year. Röttgen believes that Germany needs to speed up investments to expand the power grid and do more to reduce overall energy consumption.

German newspaper Die Welt printed a draft of a letter from Reiner Haseloff, the head of state for Saxon-Anhalt, to Volker Kauder, chairman of CDU/CSU parliamentary group following a conversation with Röttgen. The letter stated that certain heads of state had insisted that they “would provide no support” for a premature further amendment to the Renewable Energies Act (EEG). Stanislaw Tillich (Saxony) and Christine Lieberknecht (Thuringia) signed the letter expressing fear of the collapse of their solar industries. This letter presents itself as pre-Christmas pressure on the issue. A copy of the letter was also addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Röttgen said, “It makes no sense to again politically question laws that have just been adopted. Insecurity is poison for the energy transformation.” By the end of January 2012 Röttgen is to present a “strategy to meet the €0.35 per kilowatt-hour adherence”. However, Rösler of the currently crumbling FDP Liberals party plans on investing more in coal and gas fired power plants in 2012.

Röttgen believes that in order to meet renewable energy targets set by the EU, Europe has to place more emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency: by 2050, the target is to cut carbon dioxide emissions in Europe by 80 to 95%.

Chancellor Merkel has shut more than a quarter of atomic capacity in March and plans to complete an exit by 2022, to be replaced with efficient coal- and gas-fired plants and renewables including wind, solar and biomass. Germany aims to get at least 35% of its power from renewables by 2020 compared with 20% now, according to figures released by the BDEW utility lobby.

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