31 Mar 2021, 13:40
Kerstine Appunn

Deadline for crucial renewables reform expires without results

Clean Energy Wire

The German parliament has let a deadline for implementing higher renewable energy capacity targets pass, causing both energy industry stakeholders and climate activists to criticise the loss of precious time in increasing the speed of the country’s renewable expansion. When the federal parliament agreed the latest reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) – the legislation enabling the growth of renewable energy capacity  – at the end of 2020, the decision on several crucial points, such as the 2030 target for renewable electricity in power consumption, was postponed. In a resolution accompanying the bill, the coalition parties from the conservative CDU-CSU and the Social Democrats (SPD) said they would find a way to incorporate the new EU emission target (-55% by 2030) into the German renewables target. They also wanted to make clarifications to rules on tenders for old wind turbines.

Kerstin Andreae, head of the energy industry association BDEW, said missing the deadline was “jeopardising the realisation of renewable energy projects.” She added: “We cannot afford such a pause. It is high time for politicians to turn the tide: for example, we need faster approval procedures, more areas for wind turbines and a simplification of repowering at existing sites. A higher expansion path for renewable generation plants is also necessary, especially for photovoltaic and wind energy plants.”

One reason for parliament’s slow progress was a lobbying scandal involving members of the CDU/CSU, including the group’s energy spokespersons Georg Nüßlein and Joachim Pfeiffer. This led SPD energy politicians to cancel meetings and slowed down negotiations. As the deadline expired, Greenpeace energy expert Reenie Vietheer said: "There will now be further delays in the expansion of renewable energies, which could have been avoided. In order to make progress, the CDU/CSU should replace the controversial negotiators or the SPD should present its own bill.” He said the German government must urgently set the course for this year's expansion targets.

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