19 Sep 2022, 12:01
Julian Wettengel

Germany must speed up energy transition instead of fuelling fossil renaissance – NGOs

Clean Energy Wire

The German government has to urgently step up its energy transition efforts in response to the “Zeitenwende” (turn of an era) brought on by Russia’s war against Ukraine, an alliance of German environmental NGOs has said. While the government has been very active since the war started, the energy supply crisis “has so far not led to the great unleashing of renewable energies, but it has above all fuelled the renaissance of fossil and nuclear energies that were thought to be dead,” the NGOs wrote. They presented a “winter programme” of proposals, which includes the demand to establish a “wind and solar reserve” to provide the renewables industry with planning security through state purchase guarantees. The government should also immediately introduce minimum efficiency standards for buildings, instead of waiting for the reform of a corresponding EU directive. And it should put into law the plan to end coal by 2030, instead of 2038. “The government has not yet arrived in the mode of a true Zeitenwende,” NGO umbrella organisation DNR president Kai Niebert said, adding that programmes for renewables expansion were still at pre-war levels. “What is needed now, however, is a significant acceleration of the transformation, instead of further returns to fossil fuels,” he said.

NGOs and others hope that the energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine will have a positive bottomline effect on Europe’s move to climate neutrality. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that the emergence of a new crisis does not mean other major global crises can be left unattended. The government also regards the move to climate neutrality as the best way to lessen dependence on Russian fossil fuels – just like other stakeholders, including industry – and said it aimed to double down on efforts to transform the energy system “at Tesla speed.”

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