Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Wind Subsidy Cuts Could Thwart Germany's Renewable Energy Revolution

Business
Wind Subsidy Cuts Could Thwart Germany's Renewable Energy Revolution

Germany's energy minister is expected to propose cuts to renewable energy this week, despite the country's standing as the leader in solar less than two years ago and its record-breaking day for wind power last month.

Leaked documents, believed to be prepared for a conference spanning tomorrow and Thursday, show that Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel wants to cut aid for onshore wind turbines by as much as 20 percent in 2015, compared to last year's funding, Bloomberg reported. This comes about half a year after the country's former environmental minister said solar subsidies would be scrapped by 2018.

Gabriel says the cuts are necessary as Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to pay the costs associated with her plan to close the country’s nuclear plants in favor of renewables.

German officials are planning to propose cuts to renewable energy subsidies.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Gabriel wants to limit wind-turbine subsidies to no more than 9 euro cents per kilowatt hour in 2015 and halt expansion to 2.5 gigawatts (GW) a year. Developers would get the current subsidies if their units are authorized before Jan. 22 and enter operation this year, according to the plan.

Though General Electric (GE) produces components for wind energy, a company official said he agrees with reducing subsidies for the industry.

“Germany should focus on innovation rather than subsidies and building," Stephan Reimelt, GE’s head of energy in Germany, said. "There is $230 million euros of [research and development] budget for this space and $20 billion euros of subsidies for renewables.”

As Europe's top economy, Germany maintains the goal of getting 80 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2050. Today, that figure is about 25 percent.

Germany was the world’s biggest solar market in three of four years 2009 to 2012. Solar installations dropped from 7.6 GW to 3.3.

“Expanding solar energy into a key pillar of the energy supply is key for climate policy and by now affordable,” Carsten Koernig, head of the BSW-Solar lobby, told Bloomberg.

Koernig is calling for gradual subsidy cuts, so the government doesn't “choke off” the market. Meanwhile, Sylvia Pilarsky-Grosch, president of Bundesverbandes WindEnergie, said the proposed cuts would put a halt to an "energy revolution."

"The acceptance (of renewable energy) by the people is enormous, the demand for 100-percent renewable power is growing," she said. "To successfully continue on the path ... we need a courageous policy," Pilarsky-Grosch said in a statement.

"The proposals of the minister of energy are going in the wrong direction. The energy revolution is liable to be thwarted."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

A sea turtle rescued from Israel's devastating oil spill. MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP via Getty Images

Rescue workers in Israel are using a surprising cure to save the sea turtles harmed by a devastating oil spill: mayonnaise!

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A "digital twin of Earth." European Space Agency

As the weather grows more severe, and its damages more expensive and fatal, current weather predictions fall short in providing reliable information on Earth's rapidly changing systems.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice in places such as Greenland could stop a critical ocean current. Paul Souders / Getty Images

The climate crisis could push an important ocean current past a critical tipping point sooner than expected, new research suggests.

Read More Show Less
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Chevron oil field west of Bakersfield, where a spill of more than 900,000 gallons flowed into a dry creek bed, on July 24, 2019. Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

Accusing California regulators of "reckless disregard" for public "health and safety," the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday sued the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom for approving thousands of oil and gas drilling and fracking projects without the required environmental review.

Read More Show Less
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Kenyan professor Wangari Maathai poses during the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 15, 2009. Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty Images

By Kate Whiting

From Greta Thunberg to Sir David Attenborough, the headline-grabbing climate change activists and environmentalists of today are predominantly white. But like many areas of society, those whose voices are heard most often are not necessarily representative of the whole.

Read More Show Less