Alliance 90/The Greens Party Convention Adopts Additional Energy Concept

Alliance 90/The Greens (The Greens), which currently hit a poll high with 20% and more in opinion polls, adopted an energy concept at their party conference, last weekend. The title “100% Future Instead of Nuclear Power” emphasizes the priorities of the concept.

The concept strongly criticizes the government’s recently adopted Energy Concept, especially with regard to the extension of the operating times of the German nuclear power plants. The government’s concept was not a bridge to a new energy future, but a dead-end, the Greens claim. By further strengthening the oligopoly of the four major utilities, the government’s own goal was reversed, instead of lower electricity prices, prices would rise.

The Greens stand for a complete change of the energy policy and a full supply by renewable energy sources, the concept states. Hence, the party calls for an immediate shut-down of the seven oldest nuclear power stations respectively their continued shut-down. All other nuclear power plants shall not operate longer than agreed in the Atomic Consensus of 2000. They want to introduce a permanent nuclear fuel rod tax with higher taxes than proposed by the government, making the nuclear power industry contribute more to the disposal of nuclear waste and the clean-up of the atomic infrastructure. They call for an immediate stop of the explorations of a salt dome in Gorleben as a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste and a search for a new disposal site.

The Greens aim to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% until 2020, reducing the electricity consumption by 12% and the heat consumption by 20%. The switch to renewable energy sources shall preferably be effected by 2030 in the electricity sector and by 2040 in the heating sector. Until 2050 CO2 emissions shall be reduced by 95%.

To reach these goals the Greens inter alia want to launch a research and technology campaign for renewable energy. The feed-in tariffs paid under the the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) shall be amended to achieve cost reduction, the concept says. It explicitly mentions solar energy. The EEG amendment shall also give incentives for a further expansion. In this respect repowering, small wind turbines and offshore wind energy are highlighted. Lastly, the EEG amendment shall lead to a more environmentally friendly generation with respect to biomass and hydro power, the concept says. The Greens also want to expand the transmission networks, equipping them with smart grid technology and adapting them to local needs.

Cogeneration is another important aspect in the Greens’ energy concept. They want to increase the share of cogeneration in the electricity sector by 30% until 2020 and by 14% in the heating sector.

The construction of new coal-fired power plants shall be prevented by introducing an efficiency standard of 58%.

With a new law setting unbundling requirements, the Greens aim to dissolve what they call the existing energy cartel. A grid geared at renewable energy under public control shall create fair competition and ensure the integration of renewable energy sources. Residents shall be involved in the planning process for new power lines early on. The Greens also call for laying the majority of new power lines underground.

The development of storage technologies shall be publicly promoted.

Saving energy plays a prominent role in the Greens’ energy concept. Utilities shall have to meet mandatory energy savings quota and buildings shall meet mandatory energy consumption targets. Energy-efficient renovations shall be supported by special support programs.

Mandatory stipulations as well as a new promotion scheme in the Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG) shall advance the use of renewable heat in buildings. By 2020 the Greens want 25% of the heat consumption to be provided by solar heat, biomass and geothermal energy. To this end, an incentive scheme for innovative heat generation technologies shall be launched and the expansion of heating grids and heat storages be financially supported.

To improve the efficiency of the emissions trading system, the Greens propose inter alia to adapt and lower the emission limit to the 30% EU emissions reduction target and the 50% emission target for 2050.

The necessary restructuring of the German energy landscape should be accompanied by a financial reform, focussing on ecological aspects, the Greens demand. As one of the proposed measures, the party concept mentions a reform of the tax system.

The party calls on the public sector to be a role model for change and asks each and everyone to contribute.

Source: Bündnis90/Die Grünen

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