In August the industry network for Renewable Energy Hamburg, Cluster Agency, surveyed its member companies in the run-up to the 2021 German general election. The survey responses express a clear expectation of the future German government: they all agree that climate protection must become the core element of all policy areas. More than three quarters of respondents also expect the national and regional governments to agree binding expansion plans, in order to be able to develop renewable energies much more vigorously and to enable long-term planning.
“This general election will point out which direction we’re headed. The future German government must finally and bindingly recognise climate protection as an overarching, cross-departmental task, promote the energy and heating transition and accelerate the transport transition. Comprehensive reforms of taxes and levies on energy sources are required, as is faster digitisation. It’s clear that a consistent and rapid change of direction is needed – otherwise, Germany will significantly miss its climate targets for 2030,” says Managing Director Jan Rispens.
Consistent digitisation, comprehensive tax reforms, CO2 price
According to two thirds of those surveyed, the consistent digitisation of application and approval processes is required in order for renewable energy projects to be implemented more quickly. Almost 65 percent also demand a comprehensive reform of taxes and levies on energy sources. In order to drive the energy transition, the CO2 price in the non-EU ETS segment will have to be increased significantly to over EUR 100 per ton in 2025, say 60 percent of respondents.
Subsidies and bans as conceivable measures
52 percent of those surveyed believe that private domestic consumption and the procurement of green energy should be the guiding principles for a successful energy transition and that fragmented, isolated subsidy systems should be removed. When implementing the heating transition, respondents believe that both subsidies and bans are required: nearly 69 percent expect the subsidisation of climate-friendly neighbourhood heating systems, while just over half of those surveyed envisage bans on fossil-fuel heating systems from a certain year onwards.
When it comes to the transport transition, more than two thirds of respondents are relying on a change in the modal split, due to the increased development of local public transport, the combination of different means of transport (e.g. trains, cars, bikes) and improved infrastructure for cycling and walking.
Scepticism towards the national hydrogen strategy and ‘Fit for 55’
There are a range of different views regarding Germany’s national hydrogen strategy. Whilst almost 60 percent of those surveyed consider this to be a good start, around 40 percent believe it to be totally inadequate, as it is not currently clear how projects can be implemented economically. Respondents are also sceptical about the EU ‘Fit for 55’ package from July 2021. For over half of them, the approval process in member states and the EU Parliament remains to be seen and the expansion targets for renewable energy are set too low for many.