Long-term Energy Policy Experts Will Leave Bundestag Following Elections

Following the elections on 22 September 2013 a number of long serving energy policy experts will no longer be members of parliament (Bundestag). This includes Green party member Hans-Josef Fell, a member of the Bundestag since 1998. Together with the deceased Social Democrat Hermann Scheer he is considered a founding father of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

The EEG promotes the growth of renewable energy through the payment of fixed feed-in tariffs for green electricity fed into the grids (with priority over conventional electricity) or the payment of a market premium for green electricity that is marketed directly by the producer. The EEG entered into force in April 2000 under a coalition formed by the Social Democrats and the Green Party headed by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Lately there have been many calls from various sources for a reform of the EEG as electricity prices have risen considerably over the last years (regarding a failed attempt by the acting government, please see here).

Mr. Fell said he regretted not being able to support renewable energy in the Bundestag at a time when it came under heavy pressure by the “old energy industry”. He announced to continue his work in favour of climate protection through a 100% renewable energy supply from outside the Bundestag.

Since the Liberal Party did not reach the 5% minimum threshold in terms of votes for reaching the Bundestag, Economics and Technology Minister Philpp Rösler and his predecessor Rainer Brüderle, both proponents of a shift from the current EEG support scheme to a quota model (under which utilities would be obliged to buy a certain quota of renewable energy), will not belong to the next Bundestag. Neither will Michael Kauch, spokesperson for environmental politics, and Klaus Breil, economics and energy spokesperson for the Liberal Party in Bavaria, be members of the next Bundestag.

Whether and to what extent the fact that Mr Fell and the FDP members, who hold contrary views regarding the energy policy and in particular the support of renewable energy, will leave that Bundestag will contribute to the future design of the EEG remains to be seen. The Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) emerged as the winners of Sunday’s election, but need a coalition partner. The most likely candidate appears to be the Social Democrats. This coalition is favoured by a majority of Germans.  A coalition with the Green Party is also a possible, but more unlikely option at this point. The SPD seems, however, hesitant to enter into a second grand coalition after 2005 to 2009, according to media reports.

SPD member Rolf Hempelmann, a member of the Bundestag since 1994 and energy spokesperson of the SPD parliamentary group since 2003, will leave the Bundestag. The web page of the SPD parliamentary group does not yet name a successor. Mr Hempelmann’s party colleague Ulrich Kelber, a member of the Bundestag since 2000 and deputy-member of the environment committee, will remain in the Bundestag. He engaged in the debate about solar cuts in 2011. He is a member of the Council of Agora Energiewende, an energy policy think thank. The council brings together key stakeholders in the energy policy debate on a regular basis.

Dorothée Menzner, spokesperson of the The Left Party for energy policy matters and a member of the Bundestag since 2005, will also leave.

Source: Web page of Hans-Josef Fell; web page of Rolf Hempelmann; Bundestag information on members of 18th Bundestag

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