Röttgen Calls For Master Plan to Implement Energy Policy Shift

In an article for the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Federal Environment Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen called for a master plan to implement this summer’s decisions by the Bundestag (Parliament) and Bundesrat (Federal Council) to phase out nuclear energy in Germany by 2022 and gradually replace it by more renewable energy.

The new strategy was gradually being implemented, Dr. Röntgen said. Without going into detail, he pointed out that an inter ministerial agreement had been reached regarding further amendments concerning combined heat and power (CHP) and the Incentive Regulation Ordinance (ARegV), which determines the revenue caps for the grid fees German network operators can charge.

Yet the main challenges still lay ahead, Dr. Röttgen said. Renewable energy  did not only have to be increased, but renewable energy sources also had to contribute to a stable and secure energy supply. In addition, Germany needed flexible power plants and a speedy expansion of the grids. The greatest potential, however, had energy efficiency efforts, Dr. Röntgen said. The challenge was to co-ordinate the different tasks, he remarked, calling for a master plan to ensure implementation and help keep energy prices at bay.

Apart from the CHP and ARegV comments, the following aspects seem noteworthy:

He was sceptical of promoting base load power plants, Dr. Röttgen said. If the integration of intermittent renewable energy required more peak load power, a market-oriented solution should be found and not more state aid spent.

Load management systems that involved the customers should be further developed and grids speedily expanded. Regarding the latter Dr. Röttgen suggested that the main market players select the most pressing expansion projects in the master plan and point out obstacles and steps for implementation. The Federal Network Agency should submit a status report on these projects on a semi-annual basis, he added.

Storage technology was only the third important aspect after the improvements in the load management and the grids, Dr. Röttgen said. While more hydro power plants that were needed in the medium term were relatively cost-efficient in Norway, the Alps and parts of Germany, other new and more costly storage technologies like power to gas or the battery technology would only play a more important role in the long run. However, Dr. Röttgen pointed out the research funds Germany has so far allocated.

Key to an important shift in the energy strategy is energy efficiency in Dr. Röntgen’s opinion. He supported the draft presented by the EU Commission for an EU Energy Efficiency Directive.  The greatest need for action (in Germany) was in the building sector as it accounted for 40% of the energy consumption, he added. He deplored that the states lead by the Socialists (SPD) and the Green Party rejected the Act on Fiscal Measures Promoting Energy-Efficient Renovations of Residential Buildings, which formed part of the energy package otherwise approved in summer. It was aimed at promoting the energy-efficient renovation of buildings, but dismissed by the states for fear of tax losses. The future of the bill is still unclear. As it is a so-called “consent law” it can only be passed if the Bundesrat endorses the law (if necessary with amendments).

Source: Dr. Norbert Röttgen for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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