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Minister Altmaier: EEG Cuts Needed – or Energiewende Costs Will Reach Trillion Euro Mark by 2040

Without amendments to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the costs for the German Energiewende could add up to a trillion Euros “by the end of the thirties of this century”, Federal Environment Peter Altmaier told the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

Feed-in tariffs in the amount of EUR 67 billion which had already been paid pursuant to the EEG, and another EUR 250 billion which will have to be paid until 2022 (as feed-in tariffs are granted for a 20 year period), equalled EUR 317 billion, Mr Altmaier explained. Another EUR 360 billion had to be added if the expansion of new renewable power plants continued unabated and nothing would be done to cut tariffs. This would lead to costs of EUR 680 billion by 2022, not including the costs for grid expansion, reserve capacity, R&D, electromobility and the energy-efficient renovation of buildings, he said.

The cuts Federal Economics Minister Philipp Rösler and he [1] had recently suggested were therefore necessary. They amounted to EUR 1.8 billion annually, resulting in savings of EUR 200 billion or more within the next 20 years, plus savings of roughly EUR 100 billion due to a need for less reserve capacity (what exactly is meant by reserve capacity in this context remains unclear, regarding the terminology of the Federal Network Agency, please click here [2]). Hence, savings of EUR 300 billion in total were possible.

Concerning EU plans [3] to limit carbon allowances in the next phase of the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) from 2013 to 2020, Mr Altmaier told FAZ that he was optimistic to find a common stance on the matter with Mr Rösler, who has opposed such plans in the past. They had already agreed with respect to an EEG amendment [1], he pointed out.

Regarding the possibility to extract shale gas by fracking in Germany, Mr Altmaier announced to submit a bill together with Mr Rösler that will prohibit fracking in areas where drinking water is produced and will prescribe environmental impact assessments in all other cases. The shale gas boom in the United States lead to exports of cheap US coal to Europe, resulting in lower costs for coal-fired power plants in comparison with the environmentally more friendly gas-fired power plants, he said, adding that preliminary figures indicated that CO2 emissions have risen for the first time in years in 2012. For more information on the topic of fracking, please click here [4].

Asked whether a compromise with the opposition on a permanent nuclear waste disposal site has become more difficult with the new Social Democrat/Green coalition government opposed to the possible site of Gorleben taking office in Lower-Saxony, Mr Altmaier said if SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel, Green Party chairman Jürgen Trittin and Green Party Premier of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann would stand by their prior statements, there was room for an agreement.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [5]

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