13 Nov 2023, 13:36
Julian Wettengel

This decade “crucial” for Germany en route to climate neutrality by 2045 – researchers

Clean Energy Wire

Comprehensive measures in all sectors must be implemented in the 2020s to ensure Germany has a chance to reach climate neutrality by 2045, said researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZ Jülich). “What we do over the next seven years is of crucial importance,” said Detlef Stolten, director of the organisation’s institute for techno-economic systems analysis. In a new report, FZ Jülich said that reaching climate neutrality by 2045 – as prescribed by the country’s climate law – is still possible, both from a technical and an economic perspective. According to the researchers, annual renewables capacity additions must be increased two to four-fold to 8 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind (currently 2 GW/yr), 3 GW of offshore wind and 17 GW of solar PV (currently 8 GW/yr). They said that biomass is an important pillar for the energy system in Germany. It would cover around 14 percent of primary energy consumption by 2030 and 20 percent by 2045 (9% in 2022). Overall, energy consumption in Germany is declining due to more efficiency and the switch to direct use of renewable electricity. "This is why the untapped potential of biogenic waste and residual materials must be tapped and we must begin to increase the area currently used for bioenergy cultivation by 2030," main author Felix Kullmann said. There is sufficient land available for growing energy crops without competing with food production, the researchers said. To prepare for significant CO2 removal from the atmosphere by 2045 – which will be necessary to balance out hard-to-abate residual emissions, for example from agriculture – Germany must find suitable carbon storage sites already by 2030 and create the necessary framework rules to make CO2 storage possible, the researchers said.

Germany aims to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045. It has set the interim targets of cutting emissions by at least 65 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and 88 percent by 2040. However, the country is off track to reaching its 2030 targets.

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