In January, the Minister of Climate Protection and Economics, Robert Habeck, presented the new federal government’s climate protection plans for the next four years. The announcement included key targets to promote projects that increase solar energy’s contribution to the nation’s energy supply. And this move is being welcomed by the solar industry with open arms according to a survey by the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) conducted at the turn of the year. This new direction will likely include a solar acceleration package pending approval from the federal cabinet, which is expected to happen before Easter. The faster expansion of renewable energies will serve as the basis for the heat and transport turnaround, with the ultimate aim of increasing the share of renewable energies in the German power grid to 80 percent by 2030. To achieve this, the tender volumes, which are based on a gross electricity consumption of 715 terawatt hours, are to be gradually increased.
Focusing on photovoltaics
The minister highlighted the importance of photovoltaic systems while presenting his plans to introduce a new solar acceleration law designed to improve tenant electricity and introduce general solar obligations like the installation for photovoltaic systems at every new commercial and private building. And to further support the expansion of photovoltaics, regulations are being simplified, such as plans to promote systems rewarding those participating in tenders with feed-in tariffs. Up to now, roof systems have had to participate in an auction from an output of 300 kilowatts, but this limit will soon be extended, as will the area for solar park projects to participate in tenders.
ESS batteries as further key element for a more flexible power supply
In its 2021 study titled “Pathways to a Climate-Neutral Energy System,” Fraunhofer ISE calculated that the installed capacity for wind energy and photovoltaics would have to increase to between 550 and 770 GWe by 2045 – five to seven times today’s capacity – in order to accelerate the conversion of electricity generation to renewable energies and ensure a smooth energy transition. However, the high proportion of fluctuating renewable energy sources requires “a paradigm shift in the supply model” to make supply as flexibly as possible. In addition to the stronger coupling of the energy industry, buildings, industry and transport sectors, power-to-X technologies, battery storage and flexible power plants could also become key elements that help bring greater flexibility to the nation’s electricity supply.
Wind energy, building efficiency, electric cars and climate-neutral production
The other ambitious targets mentioned relate to the expansion and acceleration of wind energy, while carefully considering the protection of species. In addition to a new “wind on land” law, in which two percent of state land is reserved for wind energy, distance regulations are to be modified and approval and planning procedures simplified. In cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Building, Habeck also wants to amend the Building Energy Act to make the construction of efficient buildings a central component. The number of electric cars (EVs) on German roads is set to rise to 15 million by 2030, which means the charging infrastructure will also expand significantly to match this new demand for electricity. Other important demands put forward by the minister are aimed directly at industry: the switch to climate-neutral production processes is to be made possible and promoted with so-called climate protection differential agreements. Other individual measures relate to the construction of new gas-fired power plants, which the minister wants to use as a bridging technology as well as a stabilizing factor for the power grid as the use of coal phases out, should wind and photovoltaics not supply enough electricity. In this context, additional subsidy programs are also being provided to support the market maturity of hydrogen technology.
Tight implementation schedule announced
To help Germany achieve its climate protection targets by 2030, the first laws are to be passed as part of an emergency climate protection program which will be amended by the end of April. By the end of 2022, all other required laws and ordinances will also be changed or enforced with a second climate protection package.
A detailed overview of the opening balance sheet on climate protection provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection can be downloaded here.
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