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07 Feb 2020, 12:58
Julian Wettengel

“German energy policy is a problem child” – Bavaria’s state premier

WirtschaftsWoche

Germany needs to revamp its energy policy to avoid issues with supply security and higher transition costs, Bavaria’s state premier Markus Söder told WirtschaftsWoche in an interview. “After all, it is clearly evident that the simultaneous phase-out of nuclear energy and coal is not yet linked to a coherent national energy concept,” said the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) – Bavarian sister party of chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU. Calling energy policy a “problem child”, Söder said Germany must ensure faster approval procedures for infrastructure projects such as power lines and train tracks to make the country future-proof. “Everything takes too long with us. Our processes are hardly competitive internationally.” Proposing a “modernisation law” to speed up processes, Söder also cautioned that this must not lead to less citizen participation. One example of such infrastructure projects are the envisioned liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals in northern Germany. “It is not unwise to have alternatives,” Söder said, regarding federal government plans to support their construction.

Germany is bidding farewell to nuclear energy by the end of 2022 and coal by 2038 at the latest. At the same time, it is expanding renewable energy sources and working to make its economy virtually climate-neutral by mid-century. However, expansion of wind power and major power transmission lines are lagging behind government plans, and many see complicated and time-consuming permit procedures as a key issue. However, these procedures also ensure that citizens’ concerns are taken into account.

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