The three parties of Germany’s likely new government have presented a coalition treaty that foresees a massive boost to renewable energy in general and in particular offshore wind, which is in line for a 70GW ambition for 2045.
The 178-page document works like a rule book for the next four years of the incoming government of election winner Olaf Scholz from the Social Democrats (SPD), with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats (FDP) as coalition partners. It still needs to be approved by all three parties at large to clear the way for Scholz to be elected Chancellor on 6 December.
The treaty lays down that Germany will raise the share of renewables in its power mix to 80% by 2030, compared to 65% planned so far.
It also increases a target for offshore wind to 30GW by 2030, compared to 20GW previously envisaged. Wind at sea should then be expanded further to 40GW in 2035, and 70GW in 2045.
“With ambition and perseverance, we will make our country a pioneer in climate protection,” Scholz said at a press conference in Berlin presenting the coalition treaty.
“With the consistent and rapid expansion of renewable energies, with an acceleration of planning law. We support industry in switching to climate-neutral production.”
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To achieve the ambitious offshore expansion, areas in Germany’s outer economic zone (far offshore North Sea) should be secured, and trans-national projects in the North and Baltic Seas will be promoted.
To boost the expansion in onshore wind – which had stalled in recent years due to permitting and planning bottlenecks – the next government plans to accelerate planning and permitting, as well as changing construction legislation to introduce a target to allocate 2% of Germany’s area for wind farms.
The incoming coalition plans to facilitate repowering “without a great permitting effort,” the treaty states.
The document also foresees to expand solar power to around 200GW by 2030, from 54GW at the end of 2020. To help the ambitious target, a solar mandate will be introduced on commercial new buildings, while solar roofs should be the norm on private new houses.
At the same time, the new government plans to give bio-energy a future and will work out a biomass strategy, as well as better use Germany’s geothermal potential.
Green Party co-leader and likely new minister for economics and climate, Robert Habeck, said that while the three parties didn’t decide to increase Germany’s emission reduction target of 65% by 2030 (from 1990 levels), they have calculated that with the measures to be introduced Germany will probably overshoot that target.
The coalition treaty states that Germany’s coal exit ‘ideally’ should be done by 2030, instead of the current target of 2035-38. The massive renewables expansion and the construction of new gas-fired power stations are supposed to help that.
It seems the Greens were not able to push through a binding earlier coal exit date due to the resistance of the SPD, which has a strong base in some of Germany’s lignite mining areas, and the FDP, which wants the market to push out coal via CO2 pricing.
With FPD leader Christian Lindner the likely new finance minister, it will also be near-impossible to finance the renewables expansion with new debt or too much state support, which could lead to tensions with the Greens in the future government.
Scholz’s SPD in elections on September 26 had become Germany’s most voted party with 25.7% (+5.2%), while the Greens won 14.8% (+5.8%), and the FDP 11.5% (+0.7%), ousting the government led by outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) suffered heavy losses.
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