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Renewables expansion recklessly ignored in climate debate – opinion

The expansion of renewable electricity facilities, such as wind and solar PV parks, is the crucial challenge currently facing Germany’s energy transition (Energiewende), but the issue is sidelined in the government’s debate about its planned climate action programme 2030, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The grand coalition government is “passionately arguing” about CO₂ pricing or the energy efficient modernisation of buildings, but fails to discuss how the target of 65 percent renewables share in power consumption by 2030 could be reached, writes Bauchmüller. In the face of increased opposition to new installations, the government “has given up advertising Germany as a country that uses green electricity to make itself independent of fossil imports, such as hard coal or, at some point, natural gas – a country that does not have to tear holes in the landscape or generate further nuclear waste for its electricity.” Instead, the grand coalition “keeps its distance from the [Energiewende] project as if it were a disgraced relative. Another declaration of bankruptcy of German climate policy is imminent,” writes Bauchmüller.

In its 2018 coalition treaty, the federal government decided to increase the share of renewables in power consumption to 65 percent by 2030. However, the expansion is threatened by regulatory shortcomings and growing opposition to new installations. The expansion of onshore wind in Germany, for example, almost came to a standstill in the first half of 2019. Lagging power grid expansion in the country is also a problem for renewables development. 

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