German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Thursday time was of the essence if Germany was to realise a shift to renewable energy, while her environment minister vowed to make energy-intensive companies contribute more to the transition.
Merkel’s ambitious switch to green energy from nuclear, known as the ‘Energiewende’, is seen as the most significant domestic policy of her second term. Renewables are due to account for 35 percent of German power in 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
Six months before a federal election, however, questions remain to be solved, not least the thorny question of how to pay for the shift. Consumers are wary over the extent to which they will foot the bill.
Merkel, ministers, environmental and industry groups and unions discussed on Thursday the transition and expansion of the power grid to transport energy from new sources.
“There was no doubt that we want a successful Energiewende. That does not mean that all problems have been solved, but we agreed it is a process … and that time is pressing to get the necessary tasks done,” Merkel said.