German Coalition Renewable Targets Nothing New

The coalition of CDU, CSU, and SPD that will probably form the next German government after the latest election has negotiated a basic agreement document, which has a part on energy policy (pages 49 to 61).

The document says on page 51 that renewable energy shares should reach 40 to 45 percent by 2025 and 55 to 60 percent by 2035.

It is not quite clear from the text if that is a share of electricity or of energy. But it is of course clear from the context that it is electricity. The existing target for all energy in Article 1 Paragraph 3 of the Law on Priority for Renewable Energy is 18 percent. Obviously that won’t more than double in only five years.

If these targets are understood as referring to electricity, there doesn’t seem to be much difference to existing targets in Article 1. Those are at least 35 percent by 2020, 50 percent by 2030, 65 percent by 2040, and 80 percent by 2050.

The numbers in the agreement fit right into that existing framework.

If there is any change, it is the fact that the agreement does not only give a minimum goal, but also a maximum value (corridor). That means it may lead to braking the transition down whenever the speed is higher than compatible with the upper number of the goals.

If so, that would be a bad idea. A slower transition costs much more, since we need to pay longer for fossil fuel imports. Climate policy also requires rocket speed.

In contrast, here is a new idea.

Don’t just have a target for the renewable energy share. Also get targets for the rcmaining fossil fuel use.

Obviously the existing target of 18 percent renewable (all energy use) until 2020 means that there is only 82 percent left for fossil fuel (nuclear will be gone completely by 2022 in Germany).

Why not have targets for oil, coal, and natural gas?

For example, if there was a target for the reduction of oil use, that would clearly show exactly how much the nation is saving each year by the energy transition.

If such a target is adopted at the EU level, we could do some quantitative restrictions. Start out from the 12 million barrels a day the EU is importing right now, with a price tag of 500 billion Euros. Reduce that gradually until 2030 to 6 million barrels and save 250 billion Euro a year (not including inflation and further oil price hikes).

If that happens, one effect would be that gasoline becomes more expensive. That would be good. More people would switch from stinking gasoline cars to hybrids or electrical vehicles or hydrogen cars, faster. It would also be good news for the oil companies, who would see their profits explode with higher prices, which is why I would expect their lobbyists to support this proposal.

Related post:  EU 2030 Energy Green Paper: Introduce Oil Import Reduction Targets

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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