German energy roadmap drives increase in renewable energy

German energy roadmap drives increase in renewable energy

Germany has published its 2009 energy policy roadmap, which aims to boost energy sustainability. The hope is that renewable energy will contribute 30% of German electricity by 2020.

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) has outlined a ten-point plan for energy sustainability and climate goals. Its January 2009 report says Germany must not become dependent on energy imports or nuclear power.

Germany is a global leader in renewable energy. Legislation such as the Renewable Energy Sources Act promotes renewable sources through feed-in tariffs. Germany was five times above the EU(27) average in 2007 for primary production of renewable energy at 28 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). Moreover, at the end of 2008, German was the world’s second largest user of wind power with an installed capacity of 24 GW.

The roadmap establishes a set of principles by which the German government hope to achieve an even greater sustainable energy supply. In addition to ensuring a secure energy supply and boosting the economy, the expansion of renewable energies and the phasing out of nuclear power are essential steps towards sustainability.

Other calls in the report are for the efficient use of coal, the improvement of German power grids and a reduction in electricity consumption. Diminishing fossil fuel requirements, cutting traffic emissions and a successful conclusion to the Copenhagen climate negotiations are also listed in the roadmap.

Through these principles, Germany hopes to achieve a number of key environmental targets. It aims to bring greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels and hopes to see a 3% annual growth in energy productivity through greater energy efficiency.

Heavy emphasis on renewable energies

The roadmap places a heavy emphasis on the contribution of renewable energies. To this end, a target has been set of sourcing 50% of overall primary energy consumption renewably by 2050.

To ensure Germany’s energy supply remains secure, renewable energies will be expanded and energy efficiency increased. Germany hopes both its Renewable Energy Sources Act and the proposed Efficiency Standards Act can enable renewable energy to become a long-term replacement for nuclear power and inefficient conventional power stations.

To ensure renewable energy has the capability to fulfil Germany’s energy needs, the national wind sector must be updated. Old turbines should be replaced by newer models with higher capacity. In addition, by 2020 Germany’s offshore wind farms need to produce an output of 10 GW. The role of biomass in the national power mix must be increased, while support is needed to guarantee photovoltaics reach grid parity with traditional electricity sources by 2015.

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