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Germany reveals ambitious green-energy plan to wean off Russian gas

March 2, 2022

Germany reveals ambitious green-energy plan to wean off Russian gas

Germany could be running entirely on renewable energy by 2035 under a new plan to accelerate the shift from traditional energy sources, according to draft energy ministry papers.

Germany could be running entirely on renewable energy by 2035 under a new plan to accelerate the shift from traditional energy sources, according to draft energy ministry papers.

The papers – first reported by Clean Energy Wire – would see Germany double its on-shore wind power generation by 2030 and quadruple both solar and offshore wind generation in the same time.

This rapid acceleration of new energy technology adoption would align Germany with the Paris Climate Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5C.

Simone Peter, president of Germany’s renewable energy industry association, told Clean Energy Wire accelerating the uptake of these technologies “is ambitious, but feasible and, above all, important”.

“With this, we are finally getting back on track with the energy transition,” Dr Peter said.

But the faster transition to green power serves a secondary purpose for the country, too. Russia is a major supplier of natural gas and the nation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine could see those supplies limited or even cut off entirely.

The looming threat of a fuel shortage has prompted German economy and climate minister Robert Habeck to start considering alternative supplies, and although Mr Habeck would not rule out extending the life of coal and nuclear generators, he also said this option is unlikely.

Germany’s remaining nuclear power stations are scheduled to be taken offline by the end of this year and the greens party remains opposed to continuing to use this fuel source – though stopped short of flatly rejecting the possibility.

Meanwhile, continuing to use coal (which itself was due to be phased out by 2038 at the latest, with an aspirational target of 2030) would see Germany either reliant on Russian hard coal exports or becoming dependent on other nations to meet the country’s energy needs.  

With only enough natural gas in reserve to last this winter and the coming summer, Mr Habeck has signalled Germany will need to curb its appetite for gas and source its power elsewhere.

Rare earth demand lifting amid looming energy crisis

A similar story is playing out in the US, where President Joe Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced a US$35 million contract with the company operating America’s only rare earths mine.

The two politicians also flagged the possibility of additional support for other battery metal projects in the country as the fighting in Ukraine continues to threaten global energy supplies.

These moves come only a few weeks after the International Energy Agency (IEA) called for a shift towards lower emission fuel supplies after fluctuations in the natural gas market triggered a European energy crisis.

The IEA said policymakers will need to pay close attention to the supply of rare earth elements across the world to ensure they have adequate supply to manage the transition and reinforce their energy markets from macroeconomic shocks.

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Sources


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