Environment Minister Altmaier on Energiewende Challenges

In an interview with the tabloid Bild am Sonntag, the new Environment Minister Peter Altmaier expressed cautious doubt on the achievability of certain targets of the German energy policy shift. His comments were widely reported in the German media.

While Germany was on track with the expansion of renewable energy, the country might not be able to reduce electricity consumption by 10% until 2020, and might not have one million electric cars on German roads by 2020, Mr Altmaier said. Forecasts concerning the electricity prices had to be adjusted in the past (since prices for consumers had climbed higher than expected), Mr Altmaier said, vowing that he would only present estimates he was convinced of.

The need for coordination regarding the energy policy shift had been underestimated, Mr Altmaier was quoted as saying. The withdrawal from nuclear power (until 2022) meant that nuclear power has to be replaced gradually by renewable energy, he explained, adding that Germany had initially not paid enough attention to the affordability of electricity. Some of the measures taken had not been the most cost-effective, he said. However, this had been recognised, Mr Altmaier remarked, saying the affordability of electricity for private households and the industry was his highest priority.

In view of rising energy prices, Mr Altmaier announced to invite representatives of social associations, consumer protection organisations and politics (including the municipalities) for round table talks on possibilities to keep electricity costs for low incomes at bay. However, new subsidies for low incomes, were not the solution, Mr Altmaier said he was thinking of. Instead he wants to offer low income households energy consulting services.

Information on how Mr Altmaier wants to reign in electricity costs for the industry were not provided in the interview.

Source: Bild

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