Germany Needs Fewer Hurdles for Grids to Speed Up Green Shift

Germany should reduce the legal hurdles and other red tape that’s currently limiting the expansion of its power grids and holding back the green energy transition, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

The construction of new electricity links should be likened in court to the big highways built after the German reunification, she said in a virtual ceremony for the opening of the NordLink cable between Germany and Norway. That status would provide less opportunity for local residents to object to new lines.

Expanding the country’s power network to connect more renewable plants in the north to the consumer and industrial centers further south is vital for Germany to achieve its climate goals.

“We will soon have to think about ways to speed up the process,” said Merkel. “We will still have to overcome big hurdles here.”

Germany plans to bring forward its climate neutrality target by five years to 2045, the most ambitious timeline among large economies. Merkel’s proposal also calls for a reduction by 65% in carbon emissions by 2030 compared with the 1990 level, more than the previous goal of a cut of 55%.

In her comments, Merkel also recognized the challenge to expand the country’s renewable energy capacity given the increasing local opposition to wind farms. She suggested that residents should be compensated for having to accept having wind turbines as neighbors.

“Germany still has to do a lot in order to reach its climate goals,” said Merkel.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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