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02 Feb 2021, 13:44
Benjamin Wehrmann

EU's tighter climate target likely to reopen debate over Germany's share – econ min state sec

Clean Energy Wire

The European Union's tightened emissions reduction goal for 2030 will likely reopen the debate in Germany whether its own national targets are still up to date, Andreas Feicht, state secretary in the economy ministry (BMWi), said at an event organised by consultancy Aurora Energy Research. The EU goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels could well mean that Germany itself needs "a higher ambition level" than its current national reduction target for the end of the decade (also 55%), Feicht said. While having this debate would certainly be "important," the state secretary pointed out that there would be many options in countries across Europe where reducing CO2 emissions could be done more cheaply than in Germany. However, the debate in Germany would likely also have implications for the country's target of achieving a 65 percent share of renewable energy sources in power consumption and Feicht said the government would likely have to reopen the recently reformed Renewable Energy Act (EEG) to allow for a more ambitious renewables expansion. He argued that financing of renewables and infrastructure construction to transport renewable power to consumers are still key open questions which will affect the country's renewable power ambitions. While a purely market-driven expansion of green technology "cannot work" as there are many more factors than economic efficiency that need to be taken into consideration, a constantly higher share of installations outside of Germany's EEG renewables support scheme is still the government's aim. In any case, power prices in Germany could not be allowed to grow further, Feicht argued. "Otherwise we will have no demand for electricity," the state secretary argued, which would then make a range of decarbonisation plans for industry and other areas difficult to implement.

Leaders of European Union member states in December agreed to increase the EU 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target to at least 55 percent, but the target has yet to be negotiated with the European Parliament, which demands even more ambition. Raising the target requires a set of actions across all sectors of the economy, and the European Commission plans to present proposals to reform basically all major energy and climate legislation by June 2021 – the “Fit for 55 package”.

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