Government Policies On Renewable Energy

Government Policies On Renewable Energy – The German government has again raised its renewable energy targets – solar power capacity will increase by 22 gigawatts per year from 2026. Photo: Wettenzel/CLEW.

Germany wants to combat the climate crisis and its heavy reliance on fossil fuel imports with a major overhaul of key energy laws to speed up the roll-out of renewable energy. In “the biggest energy policy reform in decades”, the coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) proposed in draft legislation to raise the development of wind and solar energy to “a completely new level”. In over 500 pages. The goal is to free up new land for green energy production, speed up the permitting process, and vastly increase wind and solar subsidies to achieve nearly 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2035. The energy industry has hailed the package as a good starting point for essentials. Rapid roll out of wind and solar power in Germany. [Update to add industry feedback]

Government Policies On Renewable Energy

After 100 days in office, Germany’s new government has unveiled what it calls the “biggest energy policy reform in decades” to massively boost renewable energy deployment. Coalition partners SPD, Grønne and FDP have agreed that the so-called “Easter Package”, more than 500 pages of reform proposals, will not only tackle the climate crisis, but help the country in its efforts to become independent from Russian fossil fuels.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz highlighted this double benefit of Germany’s goal of becoming climate neutral by 2045 with the help of renewable energy. Today’s package is a “very important contribution” to these goals, Scholz told the Bundestag during parliamentary question time. With the “Easter Package” we show what we want to do. Now more than ever, we will be free from the use of fossil resources. That is our duty.”

Today’s package is part of a comprehensive program of climate measures pledged by the parties for 2022 in last year’s coalition agreement. However, Russia’s war in Ukraine has given rise to a sense of urgency to not only get Germany’s policy back on track to meet its climate goals, but also to become independent of fossil fuel imports as soon as possible. The government has said it views renewable energy as a “matter of national security”. The Ministry of Finance has announced that it will bring a new package of legal reforms by summer.

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The package includes draft reforms to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), the Offshore Wind Act, the Energy Industry Act and legislation to accelerate the development of the power transmission grid. The package will now be sent to parliament and will still be adopted in the first half of 2022.

Germany’s energy industry association BDEW said the draft law contained important decisions for the expansion of renewable energy in Germany, such as an increase in tender volumes for wind and solar and the introduction of contracts for variation. “It must be clear to all ministries and all levels involved – whether federal or state – that the expansion of renewable energy is the order of the day, not only for climate protection, but also to reduce dependence on fossil energy imports.” BDEW said – Head Kirstin Andrea.

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This could be a major hurdle in the next legislative process for the package. The pro-business Free Democrats said their formal agreement on the package in the Cabinet is meant to start the process. However, “deviations from the coalition agreement (e.g. climate neutral electricity system 2035, CfD) must be corrected in parliament,” parliamentary group deputy leader Lucas Köhler wrote in a message on Twitter.

Central to the reform is the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) – a now 22-year-old law that enabled the share of renewable energy to rise to nearly 45 percent. Most importantly, the changes provide much higher capacity addition targets to meet the new government’s goal of 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 (about 600 terawatt hours) and nearly 100 percent green power by 2035.

By 2030, installed land-based wind capacity must reach 115 gigawatts (GW), the government says. Annual capacity growth should therefore reach 10 GW from 2025 onwards. Solar cell installations will increase to 22 GW per year from 2026 to achieve a total capacity of 215 GW by the end of the decade. Offshore wind subsidies have also been increased to a minimum of 30 GW per 2030 and 40 GW by 2035, and 70 GW by 2045. The government wants to encourage the production and use of biomethane in highly flexible plants by increasing the tender volume. Biomass for electricity generation will be replaced by use in transport and industry.

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In light of the war in Ukraine and the urgent need to become independent from imported fossil fuels, the ministry has again increased these figures compared to the initial proposal from February 2022.

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To ensure that these ambitious growth scenarios are not hampered by lengthy planning processes, local opposition and conflicts with other protected objectives, the government has established the principle that the use of renewable energy is in the overall public interest and prioritizes other concerns, including greenhouse gas emissions. . Gas neutrality is achieved.

For this, the Ministry of Economy and Climate and the Ministry of Environment have already submitted a new agreement linking bird conservation and wind energy expansion.

New distance rules between wind turbines and weather radar installations and rotating radio beacons, which have so far prevented new wind farms from being built around them, could free up about 5 gigawatts of wind capacity on land, leaving room for the surrounding area. Economist and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said that 1,200 new wind turbines will be built within a short period of time.

In order to achieve high acceptance among the population, residential energy measures will be exempted from participating in the tender scheme; Local communities will be facilitated to benefit financially from wind farms and nearby ground-mounted solar panels.

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Additionally, the “Easter Package” also includes changes to the federal grid plan. In general, all future power grid planning is done to achieve a climate-neutral grid in the most efficient way possible. and to ensure that the grid will continue to support the expansion of renewable energy. Initially, 19 new grid expansion projects will become part of the Federal Grid Requirement Plan, and another 17 will be modified to better serve the energy industry. To speed up grid planning and grid construction — Germany is several years behind in its grid expansion plans — permitting processes must be simplified and barriers reduced, the government said.

While renewable energy expansion would get a significant boost through the package, the drafts did not adequately address grid expansion, said Tim Meyerjurgens, COO of power transmission grid operator TenneT. Both sides will be needed to make the energy transition successful. “We introduced more significant procedural simplifications in the discussion, but we still see very little in the current draft law for significantly faster onshore and offshore network expansion in the future,” Meyerjurgens said.

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The renewables industry welcomed the proposals as a first step, but called for changes to the legislative process. “We still see a need to make adjustments to all renewable energy. These changes should be done with the summer package,” says Simon Peter, chairman of the renewables organization BEE. Can do,” said Peter.

The wind energy association BWE says the Ukraine war and Russia’s desire to break free from fossil fuels have further encouraged the development of renewable energy. “[The Easter package] shows that there is a strong will to promote wind energy quickly, with energy security in mind,” said BWE President Hermann Albers. He added that the upcoming “summer package” should ensure that approval processes for new wind farms are faster. “We need to reduce the approval period from the current six-year average.”

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Andreas Kuhlmann, head of the German Energy Agency (DENA), said the proposals “represent a new driving force in energy and climate policy that many have been waiting for”. However, he also said that the mentioned measures will not be enough to achieve the goals set by the government in the coalition agreement. Parliament will “hopefully” make more changes, Kuhlmann said.

Environmental NGO Greenpeace Germany welcomed the package. “Haabeck’s legislative package is more assertive than anything we’ve seen in recent years,” said Renee Viether of the NGO, but criticized that little attention was paid to citizens’ energy.

German environmental umbrella organization DNR called the package “an important first step” towards energy sovereignty through wind and solar power. DNR President Kai Nibert called for adjustments to the parliamentary process. – We need, among other things, the introduction of solar cell obligations on all roofs, the elimination of arbitrary distance requirements for residential buildings and the preparation with sufficient areas for wind energy on the ground, Nibert said.

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