22 Sep 2022, 13:52
Sören Amelang

German industry says decarbonisation targets remain unchagend despite crisis

Clean Energy Wire

The German industry plans to stick to existing decarbonisation targets despite the challenges caused by Europe's energy crisis, but calls for “existentially important” electricity price relief for companies. “Even though the energy crisis is so serious that nothing less is at stake in the coming weeks than ensuring the survival of industry in Germany and Europe: climate protection must remain a high priority," said the president of the country’s most important industry association BDI, Siegfried Russwurm. "Consistent commitment to climate protection is in the very own interest of companies," he told participants at the lobby group’s climate conference. But a high priority for climate action must not translate into a "business as usual" in energy and climate policy, Russwurm said. "A significant electricity price relief is existentially important” via cutting energy taxes and transmission grid fees, he argued. "Relief must apply for the entire duration of the crisis, not just for a few months, but at least for two years."

The industry association said using all available means to generate more electricity is now also absolutely crucial. "All power plants that are available must be put back on the grid in order to dampen the horrendous prices by increasing supply - meaning hard coal, lignite and also all safely available nuclear power plants," Russwurm said, adding that a sufficient availability of electricity at acceptable prices was also key to many industry decarbonisation efforts. Russwurm warned that the current energy prices could result in Germany’s de-industrialisation, given that industry power prices were much lower in France, and gas much cheaper in the US, for example. NGO umbrella organisation DNR president Kai Niebert at the conference said he didn’t see an alternative to temporarily increasing the use of coal power plants either “because I don’t want a de-industrialisation”. But he added the emissions trading system would ensure that any increase in emissions would be compensated by reductions later on. 

The BDI said six measures were key to achieving industry climate targets for 2030 and 2045, at which point Germany wants to become climate neutral: Speeding up the renewables rollout including back-up capacity, a rapid ramp-up of the “hydrogen economy”, carbon contracts for difference (CCfDs) to stimulate low-carbon investments, a massive acceleration of investments into rail transport as well as charging and refuelling infrastructure, reliable and long-term support for building renovations, and establishing circular economy concepts in all value chains.

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