12 Oct 2020, 13:37
Benjamin Wehrmann

Consumer groups say German climate plan only works with lower power prices

Clean Energy Wire

The German Climate Action Programme 2030 will only become effective with lower electricity prices and a strong focus on inclusive renewable power generation, consumer advocacy group vzbv has said. In an analysis of the status quo of the policy package launched in October 2019, the vzbv acknowledges that the programme "has introduced many new measures for a consumer-friendly climate transition" but criticises that costs are still too often dumped on end customers. In particular, this would mean that the proceeds from carbon pricing in the transport and heating sector, which will take effect in 2021, have to be returned to customers by means of a significantly lower power price, vzbv head Klaus Müller said.

Moreover, "when it comes to the expansion of renewable energy sources, active participation of consumers as so-called prosumers needs to be improved a great deal”,  especially to make the energy transition happen in inner cities, he added. While measures in the transport sector were generally considered to be implemented in a consumer-friendly way, there was still not enough effort being made to help citizens to switch from private cars to public transport options. "In order for the transport transition to succeed, people’s mobility needs have to be met in an efficient and climate-compatible way," Müller said, calling for a broad societal dialogue to lay the ground for a rethinking of mobility in the country.

The Climate Action Programme's key measure, carbon pricing, will start with a price of 25 euros per tonne, which translates into additional costs of about 7 cents per litre of petrol for customers, and gradually rise in the next years. At the same time, German households pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

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