Germany to raise wind and solar targets in bid to reach climate goals

Posted On September 19, 2019 at 5:30 pm by / No Comments

The so-called ‘climate cabinet’ of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Friday as part of an wide-ranging climate package will raise the country’s long-term offshore wind target as well as annual onshore wind and solar targets, and lift a cap for PV support, a draft seen by Recharge shows.

The package aims at making sure Germany reaches its ambitious 2030 climate targets, and a 65% share of renewables in the power mix by then (up from 38% in 2018). It also contains measures for transport, industry and agriculture.

According to the 139-page draft, Berlin plans to boost Germany’s 2030 target for wind at sea to 20GW, up from 15GW envisaged so far, and meeting long-standing demands by the industry.

The package also calls for auctioning off 3.9GW in onshore wind capacity per year, up from 2.9GW so far, which would result in a cumulated capacity for wind on land of 80GW.

After strong lobbying by the wind sector, the government according to the draft also wants to diminish impediments to the currently sluggish onshore wind expansion, in particular in planning and permitting as well as in availability of areas for wind power.

It also plans to support repowering, better synchronise climate and species protection, speed up planning procedures, and improve the “compatibility of wind energy use and aviation,” – all demands raised by the wind sector in recent weeks.

German gross onshore additions this year had collapsed to a mere 287MW in the first half, the lowest figure since 2000, which had triggered alarm signals throughout the European wind sector.

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In solar, the government aims at lifting annual additions to 3.5GW instead of 2.5GW, in order to reach about 85GW in cumulated capacity by 2030. The draft also foresees a scrapping of a 52GW limit until which support for solar installation will be paid. That figure is expected to be reached very soon, possibly next year.

Through the higher targets, emissions in Germany’s energy sector would decrease by 43 to 51 million tons of CO2 more than in a business-as-usual scenario, and push emissions in energy down to 175-183m tons in 2030. That would be 61-61% less than in 1990.

Despite the beefed-up renewable energy targets, the package in its leaked version has already prompted criticism from environmental groups due to perceived shortcomings in the transport sector, the lack of mentioning a CO2 price in transport and heating, and sticking to a planned coal exit only by 2038 instead of an earlier date.

“Only a climate protection law with binding targets and responsibilities for individual sector can give a clear direction to this headless clutter again,” said Greenpeace Germany managing director Martin Kaiser.

“The federal government can slow down the climate crisis only with a coal exit by 2030, a rapid good-bye to diesel and gasoline [powered cars] and a reduction of animal stocks.”

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian allies from the Christian Social Union (CSU) and their coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD) are expected to fine-tune the package until very late hours tonight.

The climate cabinet meeting Friday will be accompanied by massive street protests by the Fridays for Future teen climate activist movement in hundreds of German cities.

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