Germany’s Climate Targets at Risk After Underestimating Electricity Needs
(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s government has underestimated the nation’s electricity needs over the coming decade with holes in recent forecasts likely to sink the country’s plans to slash emissions.
That’s according to the government’s renewable energy unit that expects demand for electricity to rise 20% by 2030 rather than decline steadily as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s economy ministry has forecast. As a result, the share of green electricity in the power mix will likely sputter to 50%, below current levels and short of the updated 65% target, the Dena agency said.
“A real and new attempt to expand clean energy must have high priority,” Chairman Andreas Kuhlmann said in a Jan. 29 statement on the agency’s website.
After failing to hit its 2020 climate-change targets, Merkel’s government in October published plans to hit new goals by 2030. Those updated targets envisage German electricity demand falling over the next 10 years. Dena said that won’t happen as the country ramps up its electric vehicle fleet and converts millions of gas-fired home heating systems to electricity.
The higher energy demand, and ensuing higher prices, will mean clean electricity won’t be able to muscle out fossil fuels out of the energy mix, Dena said.
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EWI, an independent energy-sector think tank based in Cologne, backs Dena. It says that green power’s share will hit just 46% of all generation by 2030. The government is overestimating the real gains from energy efficiency, it said.
The BEE renewable energy and BDEW utility lobbies also expect power demand to exceed the government’s forecast.
While the BDEW doesn’t generate its own estimate for 2030, it expects power consumption to grow from today’s rates, outpacing improvements in efficiency, the group said in a note to Bloomberg. The government must take up a vigorous expansion of green power.
An update of the government’s power consumption forecasts isn’t expected soon. The Economy and Energy Ministry said a new estimate will be generated by the end of 2021 and linked to a revised outlook on Germany’s power grid expansion.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.