14 Sep 2017 | Julian Wettengel

What energy & climate stakeholders want from Germany's next government

Environmentalists, business associations, lobby groups, think tanks and researchers have all drawn up their wish list for future energy and climate policy ahead of the federal elections on 24 September. Whatever coalition German Chancellor Angela Merkel – widely tipped to win a fourth term – will form, those stakeholders will push hard to get their ideas for the Energiewende in the coalition agreement and high on to the next government’s agenda. The Clean Energy Wire has selected key requests from relevant stakeholders in this factsheet.

Federation of German Industries (BDI)

In its “Recommended course of action for the 19th election term of the German Bundestag”, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) calls for a fundamental reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) financing system to lower energy costs for industry. “Competition should come before regulation”, BDI says. In light of the US exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, it would be wrong to introduce more ambitious climate protection goals and to “continue to tighten the screws of EU emissions trading [EU ETS] one-sidedly”, writes BDI. “Climate protection must remain affordable.”
Regarding mobility, BDI says that industry promotes electrification and encourages research into alternatives, but “bridging technologies, such as diesel, hybrid, sustainable biofuels, and natural gas” were needed to reach the 2030 climate targets. “Finding a technology-neutral balance between economic, social, and ecological interests must be the goal of future regulation.”
Find the paper in German here.

Rhineland-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI)

Christoph Schmidt, president of RWI and chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, argues that the German national energy transition plan should be based on market economy rules to avoid further cost increases. “With its current detail-oriented changes and its planned economy approach, the country cannot achieve a full energy transition without massive welfare losses”,” said Schmidt in an interview with Focus magazine.
Find an interview with Schmidt in German Focus magazine here.

German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)

BDEW has published its detailed demands for the 2017-2021, 2021-2030, and post-2030 periods in a paper entitled “Designing the energy supply of tomorrow”. The next German government should: a) adjust the design of the energy generation market, for example by reducing obstacles to storage and decentralised energy supply, and by introducing a technology-neutral and market-based system for power grid congestion management; b) speed up power grid expansion and reform the grid fee system; and c) push sector coupling, for example by adapting the power levies and tax systems. For the 2021-2030 period, BDEW emphasises the need for smart infrastructure, digitalisation, and innovation, while continuing to adapt the market to the needs of industry. For now, it remains difficult to predict Germany’s post-2030 energy needs, it says, but the developments should follow the principles of market economy, competition, technological openness, and innovation.
Find BDEW’s demands in German here.

German Trade Union Association (DGB)

In a publication entitled “Demands to the parties for the federal election 2017”, DGB says that the German energy transition is “a consistent and logical path”. It cannot be left to the market, but needs “active political steering”. Prosperity and decarbonisation do not contradict each other. Intermediate energy and climate sector targets create “a robust framework for innovation and investment”, and need to be associated with employment targets. The energy retrofitting of buildings should be supported with five billion euros annually, and a federal energy savings law could provide a long-term framework for the country’s energy efficiency policy. An energy transition fund should be set up to stabilise the EEG surcharge in the long run. A “transport master plan” should underpin the efforts to decarbonise transport by 2050, complete with measures and intermediate targets.
Find DGB’s demands in German here.

Association of Energy Market Innovators (bne)

In its position paper entitled “Energiewende: thinking ahead”, bne presents a list of 11 key proposals that could “answer pivotal questions related to a sustainable climate and energy policy” in the next government coalition agreement. These include: anchoring the Paris Agreement in national and European climate targets (making possible the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 95 percent by 2050); creating a more flexible power market by linking supply and demand with the help of an automated measuring and control infrastructure; drafting a “consistent” master plan for the next phase of the Energiewende, which aims at decarbonising the heating and transport sectors as well. In transport, bne calls for a mandatory European e-car sales quota by 2025. The association wants to introduce ambitious CO₂ pricing, with a national floor price of around 30 euros per tonne of CO₂ as a first step.
Find the position paper in German here.

German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE)

The energy transition is one of Germany’s largest modernisation projects, which threatens to “come to a halt halfway“, writes the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) in its paper entitled “Clean energy. 100 percent”. To avoid this, renewables expansion must be accelerated threefold, and a coal exit plan must be introduced. Power tax should be abolished and replaced by a CO₂ tax on fossil fuel-based power plants. A 25 euro per tonne CO₂ tax should be introduced in the heating market, and fossil fuel subsidies should be abolished. In mobility, ambitious targets for climate-friendly alternative drives by 2030 are essential, because they offer planning security to the auto and energy industries, writes BEE.
Find the paper in German here.

German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI)

“Expensive German national solo efforts in climate protection” and “constantly rising energy costs” put a damper on the country’s attraction as an industrial location, writes the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI) in its paper entitled “Election 2017 – That’s what it’s about”. The next government should: find a way to stop the increase in the price of energy (for instance by reforming the support schemes for renewables); avoid national solo efforts in climate protection; and improve Germany’s energy infrastructure, writes VCI.
Read the paper in German here.

Greenpeace Germany

Greenpeace focuses on four core areas in its demands for the next government: transport transition; coal exit; agricultural transition; and protecting the oceans. Germany’s 2020 climate targets can only be reached if high-emission coal-fired power generation is replaced by environmentally friendly electricity supply. Greenpeace’s paper includes a map with proposed phase-out dates for individual German coal-fired power plants. It says that no new internal combustion engine car should be allowed to be registered after 2025, and that future-proof mobility concepts should be developed for urban centres. To counter the challenges in the agriculture sector, such as greenhouse gas emissions, Greenpeace advocates for the reduction of the animal stock by a third by 2030, and for increasing the share of organic farms to 15 percent by 2020.
Find Greenpeace Germany’s demands in German here.

WWF Germany

WWF Germany calls for: the resolute implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the introduction of a climate protection law; a socially acceptable coal exit plan; and the improvement of the Climate Action Programme to reach the 2020 climate targets. Power grid expansion must be accelerated and planned in a transparent and participatory manner, and the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) should be reformed to give it a “market-controlling effect”. Sustainable financing systems should also be introduced: “Financing and investment decisions by institutional investors and banks must be preceded by mandatory environmental and sustainability tests”, writes WWF.
Find WWF’s demands in German here.

Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)

To reach the Paris Climate Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, Germany’s climate protection law must “drastically limit greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors”; coal-fired power generation must be phased out well before 2030; power generation must be based 100 percent on renewables by 2040; and the transition to sustainable mobility must be started without delay, writes BUND.
Find the demands in German here.

Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv)

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) calls for price fairness for consumers in the course of Germany’s energy transition. Industry grid fee rebates and the power tax should be abolished, and lower resource and wholesale prices should be passed on to consumers. vzbv urges the introduction of a tax credit for the costs incurred by the energy retrofitting of buildings, especially for house owners.
Download vzbv’s demands in German here.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mittelstand (Working group on small and medium-sized enterprises)

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mittelstand is a group of ten associations representing about 3.7 million small and medium-sized enterprises. It says that Germany’s climate protection policy must be driven mainly by the market forces. The Energiewende has been replete with “a large number of interventionistic” regulatory measures, and the government has had to urgently readjust these. The group is opposed to “rash fixation on only one technology” in energy and climate policy, and promotes the competition to find the best solutions. The increase in costs associated with the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) “must be halted effectively and lastingly”, and the electricity tax must be decreased “to close to zero”, writes the group.
Find the group’s demands in German here.

German Farmers' Association (DBV)

Germany’ farmers want the “special role of agriculture and forestry in climate policy” to be recognised. While “climate-neutral food supply is not possible”, the sector offers potential greenhouse gas reductions achievable by carbon sequestration and from bioenergy projects, none of which are currently counted towards the agriculture sector. New requirements in environmental protection should be accompanied by increased support, and the effects of these on profitability should be taken more into account.
Find DBV’s demands in German here.

Misereor

Catholic relief organisation Misereor includes climate protection and energy transition in its five central topics for the general elections. Citing the extreme weather events related to climate change, the organisation says that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is “a question of survival” for the population in the global south. In Germany, Misereor calls for: a coal exit by 2035; an end to fossil fuel subsidies; and a climate-friendly transport system that can reduce private car dependence. In the international arena, the German government should promote poverty-oriented, sustainable energy policies in developing nations.
Find Misereor’s position in German here.

Association of German Engineers (VDI)

Important guidelines for the implementation of the energy transition must be set in the course of the next legislative period, says the Association of German Engineers (VDI) in a paper. Technologically, Germany was in an “excellent position” to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, although there were shortcomings in e-mobility and battery systems. VDI recommends expanding the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) partly to the transport and heating sectors to promote sector coupling, which “plays an important role for the Energiewende”. The federal government should agree on phase-out timelines with conventional power plant operators and make greater efforts to promote energy efficiency in industry and buildings.
Find the recommendations in German here.

Innovation Forum Energiewende (If.E)

The German Energiewende policy endangers the country’s industry competitiveness, growth and employment, says an alliance of mining union IG BCE and businesses such as E.ON, Linde, BASF and Merck in a joint paper. The goal of competitiveness should be on par with climate protection targets within the energy transition policy, and more weight should be given to international measures like the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). “Additional national measures for sectors covered by the ETS limit its effectiveness, increase costs for climate protection and are an obstacle to a global level-playing field", write the signatories.
Find the paper in German here.

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