German electricity sector should be climate neutral by 2040s - Renewable Energy Act reform
energate messenger / Tagesspiegel Background
The latest version of amendments to Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) includes a tougher climate goal for the electricity sector, which should now become greenhouse-gas neutral in the 2040s. The draft bill has nonetheless drawn criticism from stakeholders for not living up to energy minister Peter Altmaier’s recent push for more ambitious climate policies. The bill, which introduces changes to Germany’s renewables growth path and aims to let citizens and communities benefit financially from nearbyinstallations, fails to address the issue of making the energy transition cheaper and would “reduce citizen engagement further”, Robert Busch, head of the Association of Energy Market Innovators (BNE) told Tagesspiegel Background.
Green Party MP Ingrid Nestle said on Twitter that a climate neutral power sector would require a much larger renewable capacity. Despite a new target for the power sector to become climate neutral “before” 2050 rather than “in” 2050, and many stakeholders stressing that electrifying the heating and transport sector will drive up electricity consumption, the energy ministry is so far sticking to its estimate of 580 terawatt-hours of power consumption in 2030 – close to current levels.
Germany’s renewables legislation, which came into effect 20 years ago, is responsible for the significant growth in onshore wind, solar PV, and biogas by guaranteeing generous feed-in tariffs. Together with offshore wind and hydro power, these renewables now cover half of the country’s electricity consumption. Subject to various changes in the past, the EEG’s next overhaul - effective January 2021 - remains true to its basic principles of making renewable power producers more market-ready by sticking to renewable tenders while incorporating new developments, such as the 2020 national hydrogen strategy and electricity prices for e-car charging.