Germany’s energy transition has majority citizen support but no clear direction of development (Tour 1)

By Mina Ognyanova (Bulgarian News Agency)

Approximately 93 per cent of  Germans agree that renewable energy plays an important role for their country, despite the sharp rise in electricity prices during the past few years. These data were presented by the German journalism organization Clean Energy Wire (CLEW) during media training organized by adelphi consultancy group and financed by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Reactor Safety.

Germans pay 29.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity in 2017, as compared to 20.6 cents in 2007. More than 46 per cent of the population has installed renewable energy sources. 25 per cent are owners  and 9 per cent participate in local level companies, in an effort to cover their household energy costs with ‘green’ energy.

During the past year, the share of renewable energy sources in the overall power consumption in Germany was 32.3%, having been a mere 3.2% in 1991.

Solar panels and wind farms are placed in villages and in small towns. This way, people are convinced first-hand about the direct effect of the so-called “energy revolution”, called Energiewende in German. This revolution can bring revenue to one or more private investors who own these facilities.

However, experts are unanimous that Germany will not achieve its goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent until 2020. Germany has made it its goal to curtail harmful emissions by up to 95% by the middle of the century, but had managed only 27.2% by 2015. Despite the measures taken in various sectors of the economy, emission levels have been on the rise during the recent years. Bernhard Pötter from the Taz (Tageszeitung) newspaper defines this as the “Enegiewenede paradox”.

“Our country spends more than 20 billion Euro per year on the energy transition. However, the levels of harmful emissions in the transport sector have stayed at their 1999 levels. There is no significant change in construction either. The main difference is in power generation’ he says.

Discussions about reduction of lignite coal use for power generation, the increasing public resistance to wind farms, and the potential banning of vehicles with internal combustion engines continued prior to the parliamentary election in Germany on September 24.

Following the nuclear tragedy in Fukushima, Germany reversed its energy policy by announcing its rejection of nuclear power plants in 2011 . Eight reactor units were immediately deactivated , and the remaining units are scheduled to cease operations by 2022.

Original article in Bulgarian