08 Nov 2023, 14:02
Benjamin Wehrmann

Energy industry says ‘Pact for Germany’ can become renewables booster if implemented fast

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s energy industry has welcomed the ‘Pact for Germany’ initiative launched by the government and the country’s 16 states. The initiative is aimed at hastening the implementation of infrastructure projects, including renewable power installations, transmission lines and hydrogen facilities, by reducing bureaucracy. “The Pact for Germany comes at the right time,” said Kerstin Andreae, head of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). The country needs to quadruple the pace of wind power turbine expansion and triple it for solar PV installations, Andreae said. “This can only work if planning and licensing procedures are made much more efficient,” she argued, adding that the country needs a “can-do attitude in every administration office.” The pact was launched by Chancellor Olaf Scholz in cooperation with the state premiers. It introduces a comprehensive reform of required applications, licenses, deadlines and other red tape complicating and prolonging urgent infrastructure projects. Andreae said the pact “is an important step for accelerating the energy transition,” but could only unleash its full potential if more staff are recruited in administration and key procedures become digitalised.

The German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) also welcomed the initiative, especially since it signalled a willingness of the federal government and the states to work together more effectively. BEE head Simone Peter said the average duration of planning and licensing for wind turbines was currently more than 24 months. “The pact has the potential to improve this,” Peter said. She also stressed that the inclusion of geothermal energy in the pact will likely boost the technology that potentially could provide up to one quarter of Germany’s heating demand. Geothermal power, like solar thermal energy, would be needed to achieve the country’s ambitious decarbonisation goals in the heating sector, Peter added.
The German Wind Power Federation (BWE) said that eased regulation of heavy transports for wind turbine components could be a particularly helpful move to spur renewables expansion. “We’ve seen projects getting delayed indefinitely many times due to lacking transport licenses,” BWE head Bärbel Heidebroek said. “What’s important now is that these decisions are implemented quickly.”

Germany’s federal and state governments want to speed up investments in and construction of renewable power installations with a wide range of measures outlined in the “Pact for Germany” earlier this week. However, environmental groups are concerned that the compromise could ultimately undermine nature protection by reducing citizens’ abilities to participate and shrink the room for legal intervention by conservationists.

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