06 Dec 2021, 13:36
Jessica Bateman

Germany’s new energy targets require never-seen-before industrial transformation – report


The incoming German coalition government’s ambitious energy and climate goals can only be achieved with industrial transformation on a scale never before seen in Germany, according to calculations by the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne. In a report carried by Handelsblatt, researchers found that new gas-fired power plants with an installed capacity of 23 GW must be built by 2030. "The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) currently lists 2.3 gigawatts of gas-fired power plant capacity as planned to be added by 2023. This figure would have to increase tenfold by 2030. That is without question a feat of strength," EWI expert Max Gierkink told the paper. In addition, a massive expansion of wind and solar power plants is required. For example, photovoltaic capacities alone are to increase from currently 54 GW to 200 GW by 2030. This means a net annual expansion of 14.6 GW by 2030. The highest increase recorded to date was in 2012 when 7.9 GW was reached, according to the EWI.
To complicate the process, many parts of the Green Party, including its youth wing, are against the construction of new natural gas power plants. One way around this may be to build plants that could be converted to run on sustainable gases, such as green hydrogen. However, on the upside, the EWI advised that if the goals of the coalition agreement are implemented, then emissions reductions for the energy sector will be “clearly overachieved,” meaning that pressure on other high emission sectors such as buildings and transport can be eased.

The prospective government parties aim to cover 80 percent of power demand with renewables by 2030 – a significant increase from the current target of 65 percent. The country’s CO2 reduction could more than double by the end of the decade as a result of the new government’s renewables expansion plans, according to calculations by the German Economic Institute (IW)

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