The German government’s recently released 40-year energy plan is a ‘ ...

The German government’s recently released 40-year energy plan is a ‘revolution in the field of energy supply,’ according to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel stated that the ‘far-reaching and comprehensive’ plan will see the country’s energy supply become the most efficient and environmentally sound worldwide, while remaining affordable for households and businesses. The plan states that renewables will make up the majority share of the country’s future energy system, totalling 35% of electricity consumption by 2020; 50% by 2030; 65% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. Under the plan, nuclear energy and coal will bridge the period under which renewables are expanding. The German Chancellor announced that, starting in 2013, Germany will invest all the funds generated from the sale of carbon emission certificates under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme into the expansion of renewable energies - around €2bn. The German government is also planning a nuclear fuel tax, and will invest this, along with additional profits from the nuclear power plant operators, into future renewable energy research and development. This is expected to total in the order of €15bn. ‘The road to the age of renewable energies is possible and viable,’ said the German Federal Economics Minister Raider Rainer Brüderle. ‘But it needs time and it needs money.’ A €5bn loan programme from KfW banking group has been set up to fund the first ten wind farms under the plan, and a market premium will be established for renewable energy generated. An ‘efficiency fund’ is also being set up to assist private households and the business community in saving energy. The country maintains its overall greenhouse gas target of a 40% reduction by 2020 independent of actions from other EU Member States. Johannes Teyssen, Chairman of the Board of Management at German Utility E.ON, welcomed the fact that the energy plan is open to diverse fuels and technologies and is embedded in a global and European framework. The fundamental transformation of European energy supplies can only be implemented successfully at reasonable cost if the strengths of each region are exploited and national interests are not pursued, he said.

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