German lawmakers back plan to expand renewable energy

Jul 7, 2022, 3:52 AM | Updated: 9:21 am
FILE -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germ...

FILE -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Monday, July 4, 2022. German lawmakers were poised Thursday to approve a major package of reforms aimed at boosting the production of renewable power, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned that the country has for too long relied on energy supplies from Russia. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn,file)

(AP Photo/Michael Sohn,file)

BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers on Thursday approved a major package of reforms aimed at boosting the production of renewable power, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned that the country has for too long relied on energy supplies from Russia.

The government unveiled its 600-page “Easter package” in April, less than two months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine escalated the simmering energy crisis between Moscow and western European neighbors, many of which were buyers of Russian fossil fuels.

Germany has sharply reduced its energy imports from Russia in recent months. The government aims to end the purchase of Russian coal and oil this year, and of natural gas by 2024.

Scholz said late Wednesday that the war was another reason for Europe’s biggest economy to double down on its efforts to expand the use of renewable energy.

“Germany has relied for too long and too unilaterally on energy supplies from Russia,” he said at a renewable energy industry event in Berlin.

Referring to Moscow’s recent moves to reduce the flow of natural gas to Europe, Scholz that that “we have to realize that Russia is using energy as a weapon.”

“After all, no one believes that Russia is reducing its gas supplies for technical reasons alone,” he added.

Energy Minister Robert Habeck told lawmakers that the “sheer number and extent of laws” now being hurried through the Bundestag reflected both the scale of the challenge and the government’s ambition.

It recently pledged to rapidly accelerate the installation of sun and wind power facilities, setting a target of generating 80% of Germany’s gross electricity use from renewable energy by 2030 — almost double the share it had last year — and cutting greenhouse gas emissions from all sources to “net zero” by 2045.

To achieve this, the government proposed setting aside more land for onshore wind park s and lowering bureaucratic hurdles that have slowed construction in recent years.

Still, economists questioned this week whether the government’s ambitious goals were achievable even with the new measures.

Opposition lawmaker Andreas Jung of the Christian Democrats criticized the government for keeping heavily polluting coal-fired power plants on stand-by to replace gas-fired facilities that have to shut down due to lack of supply. Instead, he suggested, Germany could expand the use of domestic biogas from agricultural waste.

Consumers in Germany, like elsewhere in Europe, have been warned to expect significantly higher energy bills this year mainly due to the surge in prices of fossil fuels.

“If we want to keep energy affordable in the long term, if we want to reconcile supply security and climate protection, then this is only possible with renewable energies,” said Scholz. “That’s why we need to kick the expansion of renewables into high gear now.”

While independence from Russian energy is one of the government’s stated goals, a new report Thursday by the International Energy Agency warned that the supply of solar panels — key to Germany’s green energy transition — is increasingly concentrated in China.

The Paris-based agency said China currently has a share of more than 80% in all the key manufacturing stages of solar panels. For some photovoltaic components the share coming from China is set to rise to 95% in the coming years, it said.

“China has been instrumental in bringing down costs worldwide for solar PV, with multiple benefits for clean energy transitions,” the IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said. “At the same time, the level of geographical concentration in global supply chains also poses potential challenges that governments need to address.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A woman holds a child at a clinic in Dollow, Somalia, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Somalia is in t...
Associated Press

Prolonged drought brings famine, death and fear to Somalia

DOLLOW, Somalia (AP) — A man in a donkey cart comes wheeling through the dust, carrying two small, silent boys. The sky is overcast. It could rain. It won’t. It hasn’t for a very long time. Mohamed Ahmed Diriye is 60 years old, and he’s completing the grimmest journey of his life. He set off […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., manages his shop, Jun...
Associated Press

Colorado baker fighting ruling over gender transition cake

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado baker who won a partial Supreme Court victory after refusing on religious grounds to make a gay couple’s wedding cake a decade ago is challenging a separate ruling he violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a cake celebrating a gender transition. A lawyer for Jack Phillips on […]
19 hours ago
Susana Lujano, left, a dreamer from Mexico who lives in Houston, joins other activists to rally in ...
Associated Press

Appeals court orders another review of revised ‘DACA’

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court Wednesday ordered a lower court review of Biden administration revisions to a program preventing the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the United States as children. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a federal district judge in Texas should take another look […]
19 hours ago
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, at podium stands by a photo on display of TV producer ...
Associated Press

‘Scrubs’ producer Eric Weinberg charged with sex assaults

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eric Weinberg, an executive producer and writer for the hit TV show “Scrubs” and many others, has been charged with sexually assaulting five women that he lured to photo shoots and there could be many more victims, Los Angeles County prosecutors announced Wednesday. Weinberg, 62, was arrested Tuesday, nearly a week […]
19 hours ago
This booking photo provided by the El Paso, Texas, County Sheriff's Office shows Michael Sheppard, ...
Associated Press

Family of Mexican migrant slain in West Texas seek answers

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The family of a migrant authorities say was shot to death in Texas by two brothers — including one who was the warden of a detention facility with a history of abuse allegations — are demanding more information this week, as the two men charged in the killing were released from […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Water flows along the All-American Canal Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, near Winterhaven, Calif. T...
Associated Press

California agencies float Colorado River savings in drought

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water agencies that rely on the parched Colorado River said Wednesday they can reduce their use by one-tenth starting in 2023 in response to calls for cuts from the federal government. The agencies, which supply water to farmers and millions of people in Southern California, laid out their proposal in […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
German lawmakers back plan to expand renewable energy