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Author Topic: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth  (Read 24732 times)

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AGelbert

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BRIEFING

Tuesday, 11 Jan 2022


Germany to launch emergency programme for “huge, gigantic2030 emissions target task

Faced with a “drastic backlog” of too high emissions left by the previous government and not enough measures in place to reach the 2030 climate targets, Germany’s new minister for the economy and climate, Robert Habeck, has announced the launch of climate emergency programmes that take effect quickly. The Green Party minister wants to accelerate renewables growth - in particular a new onshore wind boom - as well as industry decarbonisation and the electrification of transport and heating. Making it clear to people that drastic changes need to be accepted for the good of society is just one of many difficult tasks, Habeck said, adding that despite all this, the country was presented with an “enormous opportunity."


Environment minister says Germany prepares “clear no” on nuclear in EU taxonomy

The new German environment minister, Steffi Lemke from the Green Party, has said she will work towards a clear rejection by Germany of the inclusion of nuclear power in the EU taxonomy on sustainable investments, as part of the goverment's opinion on a draft by the European Commission. In an interview with public broadcaster ARD, Lemke said the government would send its contribution in the next days that contains “a clear no” regarding the European Commission’s proposal to include nuclear power in the taxonomy. “This is the government’s joint position,” Lemke said. Including nuclear would mean that the taxonomy failed at its core objective of providing a sustainable framework for investments of the future. “The sustainability label would then not mean that it guarantees sustainability,” she said. However, the ball would ultimately be in the European Commission’s court and the German government could of course not override the decision by itself, Lemke added. But even if Germany has little influence on the outcome, “a clear public position” that rejects nuclea r power would be an important statement that also is backed by chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP). Asked about the inclusion of gas, Lemke said the technology "does not need this sustainability label which is targeted at long-term developments", even as natural gas would be needed for a transition period.

An alliance of NGOs in Germany, meanwhile, has collected over 220,000 signatures within four days to protest against the inclusion of nuclear power as well as natural gas in the taxonomy. The alliance that includes Environmental Action Germany (DUH), Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Bürgerbewegung Finanzwende, Greenpeace, Nabu and others said the German government should not only reject the proposal but also seek legal action against it if necessary. “If climate-damaging and high-risk energy technologies are classified as sustainable, the entire label loses its meaning – which would be a very worrying signal to international observers,” the NGOs said.

Municipal utility association VKU, on the other hand, said the inclusion of natural gas as a bridge technology is justified . “Those who think the EU taxonomy is about to permanently label natural gas as sustainable are misled,” VKU head Ingbert Liebing said. New investments in gas infrastructure would make possible its later conversion for use with climate-neutral green hydrogen. Such investments are also needed to allow the transition away from coal towards an energy system fully based on renewables. “Those who bluntly criticise this should present alternative paths towards a secure and clean energy supply,” he added.

The 😈 European Commission has proposed including investments in nuclear power as well as in certain natural gas projects in the taxonomy. The inclusion of nuclear has been advocated by  France, whereas 😈 German politicians insisted that gas should be labelled sustainable as long as it can later be converted to green hydrogen use . EU member states can comment on the proposal until 21 January, before the Commission might revise its proposal and passes it on to the member states and the EU parliament for approval. At the final vote in the EU Council, Germany might ultimately abstain from a decision, news agency Reuters reported.

Der Spiegel

Dutch economic affairs minister, Stef Blok, has expressed concern about Germany’s large appetite for natural gas sourced from the Netherlands’ northern Groningen province, where its continued exploitation has recently resulted in hundreds of small earthquakes, Claus Hecking reports for Der Spiegel. The Dutch government had planned to stop gas production at the Groningen field due to the continued quakes, but the site is now set to about twice as much as expected in the 2021/22 financial year due in part to high demand from Germany gas. Blok has nevertheless written a letter to his German counterpart, climate and economy minister Robert Habeck, complaining about the significantly higher demand registered by German customers for low-calorie gas from its neighbour country. In a statement to the House of Representatives in the Hague, Blok explained that he told Habeck he was “seriously worried about this development,” adding that he asked his German counterpart to check what measures Germany can take to limit its gas consumption “to a minimum." Due to the ongoing energy price crisis in Europe, Germany's utilities will likely have to order 1.1 billion cubic metres more of gas from the Netherlands this year than originally planned, according to the article

Natural gas accounted for 15.3 percent of Germany’s total energy sources last year, an increase of 4 percent over 2020  >:(. The government regards gas as a necessary bridge technology towards decarbonisation and the European Commission plans to classify it as a sustainable investment – a move that has nevertheless split Germany’s new government coalition. While finance minister 🦕 Christian Lindner of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) has welcomed the proposal to include gas as a transitional fuel towards climate neutrality , Green Party ministers have criticised the decision as “greenwashing”. The opposition Left Party, meanwhile, is pushing for the rapid certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in order to increase gas imports from Russia.
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11

 

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