08 May 2024, 13:34
Benjamin Wehrmann

German energy industry urges next EU Commission to hold course on Green Deal

Clean Energy Wire

The German energy industry association BDEW has called on the next European Commission to safeguard a successful energy transition across Europe that combines decarbonisation with affordable energy prices. “We face many challenges in the coming years that can only be resolved by a strong European Union. This is especially the case for energy and climate policy,” said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae. With the European Green Deal, which includes the union's climate law and the comprehensive "Fit-for-55" package of legislation to reach 2030 targets, the incumbent Commission has set course for important milestones that now must be pursued also by the next administration, the industry lobby group said. “For the energy transition we must play the long game,” Andreae argued. “We don’t need new targets, but we need measures to reach the existing targets.” Climate policies with a 2040-horizon should continue the current course resolutely, and a framework for transporting CO2 across borders be established soon. BDEW called for the acceleration of the renewables rollout, a hydrogen industry launched across Europe, and the modernisation of transport infrastructure for electricity, gas and hydrogen. Moreover, the Commission should strengthen the internal energy market, which had acted as a safeguard during the energy crisis and cushioned the loss of Russian fossil fuels. The internal market proved able to “allow for a safe and affordable energy supply and remains a guarantee for our international competitiveness,” Andreae said. The association also called to reduce bureaucracy and strengthen investments in key technologies for the energy transition, which could be done by means of a European sovereignty fund.

Amid the surge of far-right and other populist parties opposing ambitious climate policies, debates in Germany and elsewhere in Europe have shifted away from setting higher climate action ambitions. Mainstream parties from the governing coalition and the opposition are focusing on managing social conflicts or reversing regulations seen as obstacles to industrial recovery. Regulation under the European Green Deal has routinely come under fire for being too costly or otherwise difficult to implement, leading parties such as Commission head Ursula von der Leyen's conservative Christian Democrat Union (CDU) to openly put into question parts of the EU's key framework for combining economic prosperity with greater sustainability.

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