Germany to Accelerate Renewable Energy Push Due to Ukraine Crisis


Workers mount solar panels on the roof of the Olympic Stadium or Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany, January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

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BERLIN, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Germany is aiming to speed up wind and solar power projects, the economy ministry said on Monday, as war in Ukraine highlights the need to reduce dependence on Russian gas.

The country, which uses gas to heat half of its homes, has also announced its intention to ensure that the country’s gas storage facilities are full at the start of winter, regardless of the interests of operators, the ministry said. Read more

Reducing Russian gas – which accounts for half of Germany’s imports – will be tricky for Europe’s biggest economy as it is already on track to phase out nuclear power this year and coal power by 2030 for l help achieve its climate change goals.

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Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a leading member of the Green party, noted that Germany needed to take a series of measures, including diversifying its import sources.

“We have to admit that in the past we have been too dependent on Russian imports,” Habeck told reporters ahead of a European Union meeting in Brussels.

“In the medium and long term, we are going to significantly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.”

Habeck’s ministry plans to fast-track the Renewable Energy Sources (EEG) Act through parliament so that it can enter into force by July 1.

The law would see Germany suspend subsidy cuts for new rooftop solar panels this year and increase solar tenders to 20 gigawatts by 2028 from around five gigawatts now, keeping them at that level until 2035, the ministry said.

Germany would also increase tender volumes for onshore wind power to 10 gigawatts (GW) per year by 2027, from around two gigawatts currently, and keep them at that level until 2035.

The measures would help renewable sources meet 80% of Germany’s electricity needs by 2030 and all of it by 2035, compared to a previous goal to phase out fossil fuels “well before 2040”, said the Ministry.

By 2035, Germany’s onshore wind power capacity is expected to double to 110 GW, offshore wind power is expected to reach 30 GW, and solar power is expected to more than triple to 200 GW.

However, Habeck rejected calls for Germany to reconsider its exit from coal and nuclear power in light of the Russian invasion.

“Coal and nuclear are not alternatives for Germany,” he said, noting that half of Germany’s coal was also imported from Russia and adding that it would not be possible to maintain nuclear power plants. online because they do not have permission to continue operating.

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Reporting by Markus Wacket and Tassilo Hummel; written by Paul Carrel and Emma Thomasson; edited by Miranda Murray, Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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