Germany: Röttgen says no to further cuts19. December 2011 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger
With the new regulations not even in place yet, arguments against supporting solar energy have already gained momentum. German Minister of Environment, Norbert Röttgen rejects the calls to cut renewable energy subsidies further.
Röttgen sees this as "absurd". "It makes no sense to call into question laws that are not even in place yet," he said on Friday in Berlin. He added further that building such uncertainty is "bad for the energy revolution".
Minister of Economy, Philip Rösler stated that Germany ought to lower the subsidies for solar power generation next year. He also proposed an annual ceiling of 1,000 megawatts. Röttgen countered that the horror scenarios being put forth illustrating high power prices in the event Germany raises the share of renewables are unproven and speak for the vested interests of others.
According to a letter to Volker Kauder, chairman of CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German parliament, certain heads of states have stated that they "would provide no support" for a premature further amendment to the Renewable Energies Act (EEG). The letter, which was made public in the German paper 'Die Welt', also stated that "any further changes must support the new regulations".
Saxon-Anhalt’s head Reiner Haseloff (CDU) had drafted the letter after a telephone conversation with Röttgen, additionally calling on all the CDU-governed states’ heads to sign. In the end, only Stanislaw Tillich (Saxony) and Christine Lieberknecht (Thuringia) signed expressing the common fear of the collapse of their solar industries. This letter presents itself as pre-Christmas pressure on the issue. A copy of the letter was also addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Haselhoff has declared that the questioning of the EEG before it is even put into force as "unacceptable". He told German media, "The industry requires clear and stable framework conditions and in restructuring the politics should not turn into the problem."
North Rhein-Westphalia’s head of state, Hannelore Kraft from the SPD has, on the other hand, criticized the amount of photovoltaic production. "The promotion of solar energy with the so-called feed-in tariffs is inappropriately high," Kraft told local media Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung today. She said the high subsidies were not in favor of her state’s interests. How she plans to proceed with solar power is, however, unclear.
Meeting Oettinger's roadmap
By 2050, the carbon dioxide emissions in Europe are to fall by 80 to 95 percent. This was the plan set by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Röttgen interpreted that the central message he takes from this roadmap is that in order to meet these objectives, Europe has to rely more than ever on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Adding strength to the argument is the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry’s (BDEW) current announcement that renewable energies were the second most important energy source in Germany with 19.9 percent following lignite.
Röttgen is to present by the end of January 2012 'the strategy to meet the 3.5 Euro cents per kilowatt-hour adherence'. Rösler of the currently crumbling FDP Liberals party plans on investing more in coal and gas fired power plants in 2012. This has added to the controversy and to Röttgen’s headache.
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