Coalition Agreement: Environment, Energy and Climate Change Provisions

The winners of the German Federal Election of September 2009, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Democrats of Bavaria (CSU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) have decided on a coalition agreement for the second Cabinet headed by Chancellor Andrea Merkel (CDU).  

Regarding climate change, environmental and energy policy, the parties have agreed on the following points.

Climate change is regarded as the environmental challenge of our time.  The parties vow to strive for a world climate protection agreement replacing the Kyoto Protocol during the conference held in Copenhagen in December 2009.  They want to use market-based instruments like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and declare emission trading the primary climate protection tool.

The new government plans to promptly implement the EU directives regulating the capture, transport and storage of CO2. It will campaign for acceptance and, among other things, commission the creation of a geothermal atlas in order to determine how CCS and geothermal energy match up. We will expand research programmes that investigate opportunities for using CO2 in the economic cycle.

The government plans to present a new energy concept with specific scenarios and guidelines for a clean, reliable and affordable energy supply within the next year. CDU/CSU and FDP opt for an ideology-free and market-oriented energy policy that is open for all technologies and comprises all aspects, including power, heat and mobility.  The coalition partners intend to further strengthen renewable energies and increase energy efficiency.  Their aim is to make renewables the main source for energy, which gradually replace convential energy sources.  At the same time, renewables shall be made competetive and storage-capabable.  Over- and undersubsidizing shall be avoided.  The agreement expressly mentions that the parties want to discuss amending subsidies for the solar sector in order prevent oversubsidizing in this area.

Nuclear energy is called a “bridge technology”, which can help reach climate protection targets, until it can be replaced by renewables.  To this end the coalition is prepared to discuss prolonging the operation of nuclear power stations.  New nuclear plants shall not be permitted.  The agreement states that negotiations with the operators of existing nuclear power plants shall start soon to discuss the relevant matters, e.g. time of prolongation, safety prerequisites, percentage to which the German state will benefit from the windfall profits that follow from an extended operation.

The coalition further states their intention to strengthen competition in the energy market and promote research in the energy sector, especially in the field of electromobility.

An amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) with effect from 1 January 2012 shall preserve the competitiveness of the individual technologies covered. Regarding the conversion of biomass into electricity, the coalition wants to give more weight to organic waste materials over renewable primary products. It also intends to create improved conditions for ecologically sustainable hydropower utilisation as well as for the repowering of wind power stations and establish planning security for offshore wind power. A consistency bonus shall be introduced for virtual power plants that provide a steady supply of energy using renewable energy. The new government is also planning to present an EEG progress report every three years.

Connecting offshore windfarms to the energy grid quickly, effectively and on schedule is also on the coalition’s agenda. Furthermore, it plans to work intensively on a strategy for a power union with North Africa for solar and wind energy. Finally, the new government said it will actively promote the construction of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Centre for Technology and Innovation centre in Bonn.

Sources: Coalition Agreement

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