Lower Saxony’s new govt plans to make state climate neutral by 2040
The northwestern German state of Lower Saxony plans to become climate neutral by 2040. Following a regional parliamentary election in October, the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party presented a coalition treaty, which also includes increasing the construction of photovoltaic (PV) solar plants tenfold and covering the state’s energy needs 100 percent from renewables by 2040 at the latest, Tagesspiegel Background reports. To reach climate neutrality by that date, the red-green government has set interim targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and by a minimum of 90 percent by 2035. These targets are to be written into Lower Saxony’s climate law. Additionally, each ministry is to take responsibility for sector-specific emission-saving targets, and the state budget is to undergo a climate check.
To restructure the economy in line with the new climate goals, the red-green coalition plans to speed up planning approval for renewables by granting the climate-friendly generation of electricity and heat, renovations and energy efficiency an “overriding public interest”. The government also plans to designate 2.2 percent of Lower Saxony’s land area to wind energy “as soon as possible” and increase installed PV power capacity to 65 gigawatts (GW) by 2035. To achieve this, the state must increase annual expansion to five GW, which corresponded to the total PV capacity in Lower Saxony at the end of 2021.
Lower Saxony is one of Germany’s largest wind power states and premier Stephan Weil (SPD) has said he aims to make it number one for renewable energy. The state was formerly governed by the SPD and the CDU. The new coalition treaty between the SPD and the Greens was agreed upon in just three weeks.