Today's debates in the German Bundesrat concerning laws on energy turnaround:
Müller: What matters now are concrete measures
Signal of unity is important for public acceptance / German Laender must coordinate their activities more closely
Berlin, 8 July 2011 - "This is an historic day for the energy sector in Germany. A political consensus on fundamental issues of energy policy has been reached for the first time in many years by the decisions taken today in the Bundesrat. The German Federal Government, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat have given a signal of unity that is important for public acceptability of the challenges ahead of us. This creates the necessary freedom to focus our efforts on the big challenges regarding the reorganization of energy supply. All parties concerned are now called upon to act: the government, civil society and the energy industry. There will be no more excuses: However, with today's decisions the energy turnaround has not yet been finalized, but it only begins. We now have a first framework to be used as a basis by the government and the energy sector for initiating the necessary measures. Under these circumstances, it was certainly not possible to prevent that certain passages of the law will have to be refined in autumn", said Hildegard Müller, Chairwoman of the General Executive Management Board of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft - BDEW).
With the laws passed today, it is now important to adopt concrete measures for their implementation. "Particularly the German Laender must coordinate more closely their activities for the energy turnaround beyond the legal specifications. This applies e.g. to the development of renewable energies and networks. As many German Laender have launched additional funding programs, the development of renewable energies is unstructured in many places and not tailored to regional needs", Hildegard Müller explained. To pass a law on the acceleration of network development is a real success. We will now pay close attention to the mechanisms applied. The law on the acceleration of network development (Netzausbaubeschleunigungsgesetz - NABEG) explicitly welcomed by the BDEW can make a substantial contribution to faster network development by the planned shift of competences in the construction of particularly important extra-high voltage lines to the Federal Government. However, local discussions were unnecessarily confined in terms of flexibility by the partial obligation for underground cabling of 110 kV lines. The costs of network development would increase in many cases without providing a significant benefit.
Furthermore, the BDEW fears a financing shortfall of the German Federal Government’s energy and climate fund: "As extra costs attributable to the electric mobility program and the compensation of additional expenses resulting from emissions trading will arise for the electricity-intensive industry, there will no more means be available for the initial funding areas than scheduled to date", the Chairwoman of the BDEW General Executive Management Board declared.
"All these issues show that the discussion must be urgently pursued. Numerous additional measures are already in the stage of planning or have been announced by the Federal Government for autumn 2011", Hildegard Müller said. As requested by the BDEW, amendments of the Cogeneration Act and of the Incentive Regulation Ordinance will be under consideration in autumn. "In view of the billions of Euros to be invested in the development of networks, the government must ultimately keep its promise laid down in the energy concept to improve the conditions for network investments. Moreover, we need the program announced for the new construction of highly efficient gas and coal-fired power stations and an acceleration of the planning and authorization procedures. The conclusion to be drawn from the decisions taken by the Federal Government and the Bundestag and Bundesrat is that the real work on the implementation of the energy turnaround is now beginning. As umbrella association of the energy and water sector, the BDEW will continue to get involved in a constructive manner", Müller emphasized.
Press release: Müller: What matters now are concrete measures (PDF)