12 Sep 2023, 14:04
Benjamin Wehrmann

Texas’s energy future a key focus on German foreign minister’s U.S. visit

Clean Energy Wire

The future of the energy system in economic powerhouse state Texas will be a key feature during an upcoming trip of German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock to the United States. “Texas is today already a benchmark for tomorrow’s America,” Baerbock said in a statement ahead of her visit to North America. “With giant steps, Texas is moving towards wind and solar power,” the Green Party politician said with respect to the country’s second most populous state that is also known for its extensive oil and gas industry. “At the same time, [Texas] still has one foot in the fossil past,” Baerbock said. The southwestern U.S. state therefore served as an example for the challenges to social cohesion that come with economic transformation. The “centrifugal forces” that split society apart in this respect are clearly visible in the state, Baerbock added. The challenges Texas is currently faced with also apply to Germany and much of Europe, namely inflation, global economic competition and better access to education. “I want to find out what moves people,” the foreign minister said ahead of the scheduled meeting with Texas governor Greg Abbott. “I want to bundle our efforts and work on things together,” she added. Developing and regulating critical technology, reducing economic dependencies and trade barriers as well as finding joint strategies to respond to the climate crisis would be core aims of her trip, she added. Other areas the minister will focus on are green ammonia production and an autonomous vehicle project by carmaker Volkswagen.

During her trip, Baerbock is scheduled to also meet with her U.S. counterpart Anthony Blinken in Washington, D.C. to discuss matters related to the Russian war on Ukraine. U.S. fossil gas supplies became a key replacement for Germany after the onset of the war, which severed the country's traditionally close ties with Russia as a fossil fuel supplier. Texas is one of the centres of the U.S.’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, for which Germany has built up its own import capacities in recent months. Methane emissions, flaring of gas and other greenhouse gas emissions along the entire chain of extracting and transporting the fuel from one continent to the other threaten the image of natural gas as the cleanest fossil fuel. The traditionally Republican-governed state is also one of the biggest renewable power producers in the U.S.

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