04 Nov 2020, 13:51
Benjamin Wehrmann

German government 'in denial of reality' regarding future electricity needs – opposition

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Opposition parties in Germany have criticised energy minister Peter Altmaier for insisting that the country will consume less electricity in 2030 than it does today, Niklas Zaboji reports for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In an answer to a parliamentary inquiry by the pro-business party FDP, Altmaier's ministry said that Germany's power consumption will fall from about 580 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2019 to 570 TWh in 2030 thanks to industry production processes and household power consumption becoming much more efficient over the next decade. However, the rapid rise of electric cars, heat pumps, green hydrogen production and other electricity-powered technology is likely to push power demand upwards and according to research institute EWI could instead reach up to 750 TWh in ten years' time, the article says.

Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock said Altmaier was in "denial of reality" when arguing that power consumption is set to fall in Germany, adding this was a "maths trick" to make the government's aim of reaching a renewables share of 65 percent in power consumption by 2030 appear more realistic. FDP politician Sandra Weeser agreed, arguing that the government moulds the figures in a way that make it seem more successful in its energy policy targets than it actually is. Mirko Schlossarczyk, of energy consulting Enervis, said the ministry would still bet on unlocking vast efficiency potentials and is wary of losing face by conceding that its estimates have been overly optimistic. While he doesn't expect demand to go beyond 700 TWh, Schlossarczyk said up to 670 TWh are a realistic projection.  

Critics have pointed out that the government's 2030 power demand estimates might be off track for a long time, arguing that this would lead to much lower renewable power expansion levels than needed to achieve the 65-percent goal. The government so far has routinely dismissed concerns over insufficient expansion levels, and last summer explicitly stated it was confident there will be enough power produced to meet the rising demand coming from millions of new electric cars over the next years.

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