While last year the government was focused on developing the new Energy Concept, this year will be devoted to its implementation, Federal Minister for Economics and Technology, Rainer Brüderle, pointed out in a speech given at the 18th Annual Meeting of the Energy Industry organized by the newspaper Handelsblatt. Grid expansion had top priority, as renewable energy is becoming the desired supporting pillar of the energy supply, he emphasized.
Yet grid expansion is often opposed by the public, and people otherwise agreeing with the opposition. While opposition members asked for more renewable energy in Berlin, some locally supported groups opposing network projects, Mr Brüderle said. However, without efficient networks, renewable energy could not be transmitted.
To engage in a dialogue with grid operators, the federal states, environmental organizations and the public concerned, the forum on “Networks of the Future and System Security” (Zukunftsfähige Netze und Systemsicherheit), which was founded last year, had been made a permanent institution, Mr Brüderle said.
Furthermore, he announced plans to amend the Energy Line Extension Act (Gesetz zum Ausbau von Energieleitungen – Energieleitungsausbaugesetz – EnLAG) to facilitate underground cable pilot projects. The EnLAG already gives 24 transmission line projects priority. The new Energy Concept and the 10-Point Immediate Action Program shall now provide for a national grid expansion plan to help accelerate grid expansion.
Mr Brüderle called CCS a key technology, which deserved to be given a chance. He did go into detail when the government will discuss the overdue CCS bill.
In view of the 2012 amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), Mr Brüderle said the promotion scheme for renewable energy had to become more market-oriented. On the one hand, market players should be encouraged to market more renewable energy directly. In the other hand, feed-in tariffs, particularly for solar energy, had to be examined.
While solar capacities and thus feed-in costs had risen considerably, solar energy only contributed 2% to the electricity consumption. An earlier reduction before the regular annual reduction scheduled for 1 January 2012 should be examined, Mr Brüderle demanded. He announced to cooperate with Federal Minister for the Environment, Norbert Röttgen, to achieve a fair balance of interests. Consumer interests should come first.