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Renewable Energy Sources Act

A contentious agreement

Jörg-Rainer Zimmermann and Isaac Bah, 16 Dec 13
The German grand coalition agreement was a long time in coming – and when it was finally published, the news was not encouraging for the renewables sector.

The switch to renewables is a major, large-scale project that is certainly on the minds of decision makers in the Bundestag and Bundesrat, the German government’s upper and lower houses. However, this undertaking also involves the country’s political parties, ministries (and the many agencies under their direction), the scientific and research community, and numerous lobbyists and trade associations. Until now, political analysts have brushed aside questions about the possible ramifications of the new coalition agreement by saying that it is a futile exercise to try to predict the future of the Renewable Energy Sources Act until ministers have been appointed. Despite the release on 27 November of the grand coalition agreement, which bears the title “Shaping Germany’s Future”, it still remains to be seen who will be placed in charge of implementing the compromise solutions reached by Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The central issue is the reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, which is set to include a number of measures to keep costs in check. According to the agreement, a draft bill should be presented before Easter and ratified by the Bundestag and Bundesrat by summer 2014. The latest in a series of contentious questions surrounding the reform has been the 2030 renewable energy target. At present, renewable energy sources account for 25 percent of Germany’s energy mix. In the negotiations, the SPD called for the target to be set at 75 percent, while the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, were reluctant to budge any higher than 55 percent.

This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 06/2013

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