German state energy ministers criticise climate package, call for 'massive' renewables expansion
Clean Energy Wire
The energy ministers of Germany's federal states have criticised the government's climate package for being full of "gaps and shortcomings" and called for measures to ensure that renewables expansion and emissions reduction can make sufficient progress. In a press statement released by Lower Saxony's energy minister Olaf Lies, the ministers from 16 federal states say they want to send out "a strong message" to the UN climate summit COP25 and ensure that Germany's energy transition, the Energiewende, is seen as a beacon of climate action around the world, the press release says.
The ministers call for a "massive expansion" of onshore and offshore wind power, with "at least" 5 gigawatts of onshore wind power capacity added every year, and the removal of the current cap on solar power support. They propose several measures to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy sources, such as a "rooftop programme" for solar power or regulatory changes to remove hurdles for wind power posed by the country's aviation authorities. Moreover, the ministers call for increasing the planned entry price for CO2 emissions, which currently stands at 10 euros per tonne starting in 2021. "And it is not at all clear if the planned 54 billion euros in the government's financing scheme will be enough," Lies said, adding that the distribution of costs between the states and the federal government has to be clarified well in advance.
The government's climate package was announced in September in a bid to put the country back on track towards reaching its 2030 emissions reduction target. It contains provisions for carbon pricing in sectors not covered by the European emissions trading system (ETS), a wide range of other measures to reduce Germany's greenhouse gas output as well as an inbuilt monitoring mechanism meant to ensure that due progress is made. However, it has also been widely criticised for omitting politically delicate decisions, burdening less affluent households disproportionately and failing to allow for the expansion of renewable energy sources necessary to meet the climate targets. Moreover, the states have lamented that the package will lead to revenue loss at the state level.