Altmaier wants continuity for energy change

Minister for Environmental affairs, Peter Altmaier (CDU), expressed that there will be no rash changes for subsidies for ecologic-electric power. "I want more regulations again that last for 5-6 years," said Altmaier in a CSU conference in Nuremberg. Altmaier wants fixed quotas for subsidies to lower costs for electric power. High subsidies for renewable electricity, especially solar power, developed very fast and caused an increase in price for electricity.

Altmaier made it clear that there has to be better coordination in the use of renewable and fossil energy sources in the coming decades. New and efficient conventional plants are currently under particular financial pressure, since older but less efficient plants are already written off.

Altmaier suggested to open up a "House for Energy Change" in Berlin. He is of the opinion that it´s necessary to explain more what the "energy change" really means.

The German Bundestag voted on a government proposal for energy change in Germany  in autumn 2010 to produce all energy by renewable sources. Only half a year before Fukushima, this programme also included a plan to extend the use of nuclear power until 2040.

In 2000, the former SPD/Green government agreed with the electricity companies to get off nuclear power until 2020. Therefore, this extension of running time was very controversial and most debates about the energy programme concerned this part.

In Germany, nuclear power has been unpopular since the early 1980s. The Green party was founded on the resistance against it. At least Tchernobyl nuclear power was in completion. The last plant was opened in 1989. Since then, no new plants were planned and the debate was when the last will be closed for good.

After Fukushima the federal government completely changed their view on nuclear power. Only half a year after the extension of the running time, the government decided to totally get off nuclear power until 2020 and hold to the ambitious goal to change completely to renewable until 2040.

After the political summer-break the new Minister for Environment, Peter Altmaier (CDU) released his 10-point programme for "new energy". After some critics came up the last month, Altmaier made it clear that the change towards renewable energy and the exit from nuclear power was "irreversible". Nevertheless, he wants a better compromise between ecologic need and economic costs.

If the energy transition is successful, Germany will reinforce its strong economic position in the world for decades and will make an outstanding contribution in the fight against global climate change. If it fails it will have negative consequences for prosperity, economic growth and employment.

Over the next five decades, energy supply will be transferred step by step to renewable energy. Altmaier pointed out this is not only because of climate-change reasons, but also because prices for fossil fuel will rise in the future.

The minister also made it clear that economic aspects are important. Subsidies in the system of the EEG (law for renewable energy) have to be adjusted not to give economic incentives, as they could be found in solar power in the past years.

For Altmaier, it's important to improve efficiency of power use. He wants to introduce cost-free consulting for all private households to help them spare power.

Although the aims are very ambitious, Altmaier wants to raise the chair of renewable energy from 20% in 2012 to 35% or even more in 2020.


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