04 Mar 2020, 13:46
Rachel Waldholz

Austria looks to Bavaria as model for solar-powered Energiewende

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Austria’s new government has set ambitious climate targets that will require massive new investments in renewable energy – and it is looking to Germany, and specifically Bavaria, as an example, Andreas Mihm writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Austria’s first Conservative-Green coalition government has set a goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2040 – 10 years before the targets set by Germany and the EU. It is aiming to generate all of its electricity with renewable power by 2030 – a goal made easier by the fact that the country already supplies about 75 percent of its electricity consumption with renewable energy, primarily hydropower, Mihm writes. It will still require major investments to reach 100 percent renewable power, however. Austria’s minister for climate change, environment and energy, Leonore Gewessler of the Green Party, told the newspaper she plans to present a new law to expand renewable energy this summer. One goal is to increase solar PV capacity tenfold within the next decade. "If you look at Bavaria, there has been a development just like this,” Gewessler said. “It has succeeded in expanding a similar amount in 10 years. Why shouldn’t this succeed in Austria?"

Since Austria’s Conservative-Green coalition took office, commentators have sometimes suggested it could serve as a model for Germany, especially after the German Green Party came in second behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservatives in the 2019 European elections. After the last national German elections in 2017, Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Green Party had entered negotiations with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) for what would have been the first such coalition at federal level. However, the FDP pulled out at the last minute, thus paving the way for a renewal of the current coalition of conservatives and Social Democrats (SPD).

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