Angela Merkel’s clean energy revolution isn’t moving as quickly as she had hoped.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a summit last week to review the progress in the country’s nuclear phase-out and the movement to renewable energies. Last year the German government published its intentions to phase out nuclear power by simultaneously the expansion of renewable energy. This announcement was a reaction to the nuclear catastrophe in Japan and the German citizen’s justified demands for the energy turnaround. The main promises are:
- Nuclear power phase-out by 2022.
- 80% of the energy in Germany produced of renewable sources by 2050.
- The promote of renewable energies.
So, today the reality is quite different. Electricity prices are increasing as effect of the government’s policies and the expansion of renewable energy has come to a standstill. The consumers and particularly the industry are suffering under these circumstances. Moreover Germany’s largest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp accuses the policies for the sale of one of its steel mills. European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has even warned: “High electricity prices have already initiated deindustrialization in Germany.”
Who pays the bill?
The energy Turnaround is mainly controlled by the state and not the markets. The consequence is higher pressure on the private households and the industry in form of higher contributions for taxes and levies. It’s very absurd but we have rising (energy) costs without any considerable progress.
Additionally the former environment minister Norbert Röttgen announced the cutting of the promotion for solar energy in March 2012. This decision will curb the energy turnaround too. The poor performance (energy turnaround) and the loss in the state election cost the environment minister his office.
German Chancellor and the new environment minister Peter Altmaier announced their new (improved) energy project plan after a meeting with the governors of Germany’s 16 states. Unfortunately, the meeting ended without any concrete agreements. This plan is mainly focused on the expansion of the new energy grid. This plan is very controversial among the parties in Germany.
The energy turnaround is possible on condition of supply with affordable electricity in the future. Our politicians have to come to an agreement on one reasonable energy plan with clear objective targets. However for a softer transition from fossil energy sources to renewable energy sources we need more than an agreement among our politicians or institutions. The people have to be integrated in the political debates in Germany. Ultimately the successful implementation of such a mammoth project needs the full acceptance by taxpayers and the industry.