BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the German government remained committed to expanding its renewable energy capacity and would strive to coordinate policies better with the country’s 16 states.
Merkel and state leaders said better coordination would help Germany achieve its goal of getting 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, from 25 percent currently.
Merkel’s decision to abandon nuclear power after last year’s Fukushima disaster has led to a growing need for alternative energy sources. Germany leads the world in solar power capacity and is one of the world’s biggest wind energy producers.
Differing interests between the states and the federal government has led to confusion and delays in building the infrastructure needed to transport offshore wind energy from the north to power-hungry states in the south. This problem will become acute when nuclear plants are shut down by 2022.
Merkel and the state leaders said they share the same goals — expanding renewables while ensuring stable and reliable supplies of energy at affordable prices.
“We want to keep those goals in mind without breaking the dynamic growth of renewables,” Merkel said, referring to criticism about rising electricity prices due in part to the rapid expansion of renewables such as wind, solar and biomass.
“It’s not easy. But we feel an obligation to find solutions. We all want the ‘energy revolution’ in Germany to succeed.”
The state leaders and Merkel agreed to meet in March to discuss progress.
Torsten Albig, state premier of the northern state of Lower Saxony where wind energy plants are being expanded rapidly, said states could no longer pursue their own strategies for expanding renewables without paying heed to a national strategy.
“We’re now confident that we can move forward together,” he said.
“The idea is ‘Let’s not organize this as 16 states plus one federal government but rather as one organization’. We feel good about the way this is going.”
Merkel said she was in favor of keeping the country’s Renewable Energy Law (EEG) intact even though some members of her coalition have called for it to be scrapped because of the rapid expansion of renewable energy.
“I don’t think we’re going to be able to be selective about how to solve the problem,” she said. “We’ve got to include this within the EEG. We need a political framework.”