Faced with a “dramatic backlog” of too high emissions left by the previous government and insufficient measures in place to meet the 2030 climate targets, Germany’s new economy and climate minister, Robert Habeck, has announced the launch of climate emergency programs that will go into effect immediately. The Green Party minister intends to boost renewables growth, particularly a new onshore wind boom, as well as industrial decarbonization and electrification of transportation and heating. Making it obvious to people that radical changes must be embraced for the welfare of society is only one of many difficult jobs, according to Habeck, who adds that despite all of this, the country has been provided with a “enormous opportunity.”
Germany’s new administration intends to launch a large renewables push to tackle the “vast, colossal” issue of decarbonizing industry, mobility, and heating in order to meet greenhouse gas reduction objectives by the end of the decade, Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said in Berlin.
Germany is now failing to meet its carbon reduction targets for 2021 and 2022, and is on track to miss its 2030 objective by 15% if only existing measures are implemented, according to Habeck (Green Party) during a first stocktake and presentation of future policy initiatives.
To make up for the “dramatic backlog,” Germany needed to quadruple its emission reductions, he added. “We have eight years to accomplish the same growth in the percentage of renewables that we have done over the last 30 years,” Habeck said, referring to the share of renewable energy in electricity consumption, which has risen to more than 40% since 1990 and is expected to reach 80% by 2030. Habeck’s ministry anticipates that electricity consumption would climb from approximately 560 terrawatt-hours (TWh) now to over 700 TWh by 2030, whereas the previous administration estimated a demand of around 660 TWh.
“It is a tremendous political undertaking.” “However, it is one that gives a tremendous potential for the country,” Habeck added, admitting that the necessary adjustments will “profoundly influence social reality.”
Onshore wind is essential to a new renewables development
Making greater onshore wind capacity expansions possible is central to the government’s emergency climate action plan. The number of renewable electricity auctions will be raised as part of a revision of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG). In the near term, a modification in distance limits from radio beacons and military zones might free up 9 gigatonnes (GW) of land where wind turbines would normally be permitted, according to Habeck. By designating renewable energy growth as a “overriding public interest,” it can take precedence over other issues such as nature conservation and animal welfare. Finding the correct balance between environmental protection and renewable energy is a critical challenge right now, according to Habeck.
To guarantee that the required 2% of Germany’s land area is earmarked for wind energy, Habeck intends to travel the federal states by the summer to garner support for his proposed “Onshore Wind Act.” So far, only two states – Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein – are on track to meet the 2% objective. Making solar PV essential on commercial buildings and a regulation on new private structures, raising tender thresholds, and making more area available for ground-mounted solar panels are all part of the strategy to expand Germany’s two most major renewable energy sources.
The energy and environment ministry (BMWi) intends to arrange these measures into a “Easter package” for cabinet approval by the end of April, followed by a second “summer package.” Decisions by the Parliament and, if required, EU approval would take place in the second part of the year, with the goal of putting all new measures in place by 2023.
Contracts for difference for industrial, as well as a lot more hydrogen
The creation of legal and financial frameworks for carbon contracts for difference, an instrument that assists business in shifting to climate-neutral production processes, is also high on the incoming minister’s priority list, as is the expansion of hydrogen resources. “We need 15 TWh of hydrogen in 2030 only for the steel industry’s yearly use,” Habeck said, adding that such statistics would necessitate double the national hydrogen strategy’s production projections.
Other improvements previously mentioned in the coalition agreement include increased use of heat pumps, more e-mobility, and the construction of 100,000 new charge outlets per year. To make electric heating and driving more appealing, renewable energy will be made cheaper by exempting consumers from the renewable energy charge on their power bills beginning in 2023.
In the next years, excess emissions should be decreased
According to Greenpeace climate specialist Lisa Göldner, Habeck’s initiatives herald a “new dawn” for German climate policy. “With a first package of immediate actions, Robert Habeck is providing a critically needed boost to the ailing German energy transition,” she said in a written statement.
According to the non-governmental organization Germanwatch, surplus emissions accumulated in 2021 and 2022 must be decreased in later years in addition to the climate objectives for those years. Aside from the climate minister, ministries of transportation, building, and agriculture should develop strategies for meeting climate objectives in their respective sectors. Christoph Bals, Political Director, stated.
In their coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens, and business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) have put out ambitious promises to increase climate protection initiatives. The country intends to cut CO2 emissions by roughly half within a decade and reach climate neutrality by 2045. To meet the higher objective and meet increased power demand, the government intends to develop substantially more renewable energy capacity: 200 gigatonnes (GW) of solar PV and 30 gigatonnes (GW) of offshore wind by 2030.