Government and Federal States to Meet Twice a Year to Coordinate Energy Policy Shift

At yesterday’s meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel with the state premiers and the Ministers of Economics and Technology, Philipp Rösler, and the new Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, the federal government and the federal states agreed to work closer together to coordinate and implement the energy policy shift away from nuclear power towards a renewable energy supply. Chancellor Merkel will meet semi-annually with the state premiers to discuss progress and the tasks lying ahead, the government announced.

The next meeting shall deal with the expansion of the electricity grids to accommodate the growing amount of renewable energy. Participants will discuss the 10-year grid development plan, which has to be set up annually by the transmission system operators (TSOs) pursuant to the recently amended Section 12b para. 1 sent. 1 and 2 EnWG (German Energy Act). The plan shall provide information regarding the need for optimising and reinforcing the grid as well as its expansion. For 2012 the plan has to be submitted to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the network regulator, by 3 June 2012. According to the Chancellery the government and the states want to reach agreement on this important topic by the end of the year.

The meeting also dealt with the connection of offshore wind power parks to the grids, which are currently delayed for a number of reasons, inter alia the question of liability in case of delayed grid connection and cable failure.

Besides coordination of the expansion of renewable energy with grid expansion shall be improved. Environment Minister Altmaier announced to make it a topic in the recently created Renewable Energy Platform.

The German government also announced to submit a proposal to provide incentives for the construction of conventional power plants that can balance intermittent renewable energy output.

Another topic was research into storage facilities.

Lastly, the government and the states agreed to set up a working group that shall seek a solution with respect to the amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) that aimed to cut solar feed-in tariffs, but was rejected in the Bundesrat, the legislative body that represents the interests of the states on the federal level. It is intended to reach agreement until the parliamentary summer break.

To coordinate the energy policy shift the competent ministries on the federal and state level shall work closely together, also striving for a closer European cooperation, while involving all relevant stakeholders in Germany, the government says.

By making energy policy (again) a top priority, Angela Merkel complies with calls from the energy sector and but also risks to be made personally liable for progress and failure.

Source: Federal Government

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