SPD Premier of NRW: Jobs Protection in Energy and Energy-Intensive Industry More Important Than Speedy Expansion of Renewables

Job protection in the steel and energy industry was more important than a speedy expansion of renewables, Hannelore Kraft, state premier of heavily industrialised North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said according to the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). Mrs Kraft will be the chief negotiator for her party, the Social Democrats (SPD), in the energy-related talks with the conservative CDU and CSU, which are part of the talks aimed at forming a coalition government in Germany. The energy talks are scheduled to start on Thursday. On behalf of the CDU Environment Minister Peter Altmaier will be the chief negotiator.

It was important to protect industrial jobs, Mrs Kraft told SZ. She was in favour of the energy policy shift towards a renewable energy supply, but it was essential to bear the security of supply and the costs for private consumers and business companies in mind, she added. Recently her party colleague, NRW Economics Minister Garrelt Duin (SPD) had already called for a “real reform of the EEG (the law supporting renewable energy)”, saying a reform had to slow down the expansion of renewables. Besides he had called for a so-called capacity market so as to ensure that conventional power plants, which can balance renewable power input, can earn their money (currently this is often not the case as renewable energy enjoys priority in the German grids and the growing renewable power input drives down prices at the electricity exchange).

Green party members have criticised Mrs Kraft and Mr Duin. In NRW the SPD rules in coalition with the Greens.

Other well-known SPD party members have demanded in an open letter to the party leadership to attach more importance to topics like the climate and the environment in the coalition talks with the CDU/CSU. In particular they said that the talks had to focus on energy efficiency. Furthermore, state aid for climate unfriendly energy sources had to be reduced. Moreover, climate protection laws like the ones in SPD-lead German Länder (federal states) had to become examples for a similar law for the German Federation and Germany had to work towards this goal on the EU level.

It will be interesting to see, which SPD party wing will prevail in the talks with the potential conservative coalition partner.

Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung; Kölnische Rundschau; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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