German Chancellor Reaffirms Commitment to Achieve Net Zero by 2045

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Germany’s renewable shift is well on track despite setbacks and has accelerated post the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said while addressing a session at the 53rd World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2023.

“Whether you are a business leader or a climate activist, as a security policy specialist or an investor, it is now crystal clear to each and every one of us that the future belongs solely to renewables for cost reasons, for environmental reasons, for security reasons, and because in the long run, renewables promise the best returns,” Scholz said as he reaffirmed Germany’s goal to achieve net-zero and climate neutrality by 2045.

Germany, the top importer of Russian gas before the war in Ukraine, was at the epicenter of the energy crisis in Europe after the invasion.

Scholz said that within a few months after the war, Germany had made itself completely independent from Russian gas, oil, and coal.

He added that the country has more than doubled the volume of calls for tender for onshore wind farms alone by 2023.

He allayed the initial fears of energy shortfalls and said new partnerships with Asia, Africa, and America helped reduce fossil fuel dependence by securing the energy supply for the winter.

With new laws mandating the expansion of renewables, including wind, solar, and hydrogen, the German government expects to eliminate bureaucratic challenges and expedite grid connection two years earlier than was previously projected.

“By 2030, 80% of our electricity production will come from renewable sources, double what it is at present,” he said. “At the same time, our electricity requirements are increasing from 600 TWh today to 750 by the end of the decade, and we are expecting them to double yet again in the 2030s.”

In December last year, the European Commission approved the amendment to a German government’s program called Renewable Energy Act 2023 (EEG 2023), which seeks to extend and modify the country’s support of renewable energy. The EEG 2023 support program, with an overall budget of €28 billion (~$29.6 billion), aims at achieving a share of 80% of electricity produced from renewable energy sources by 2030.

The country installed 4.9 GW of solar capacity in the first nine months (9M) of 2022, up 21% year-over-year, bringing the cumulative solar capacity to 63.4 GW.

In a separate session at the WEF, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “Europe has replaced around 80% of Russian pipeline gas. The net-zero transformation is already causing huge industrial, economic, and geopolitical shifts – by far the quickest and the most pronounced in our lifetime. It is changing the nature of work and the shape of our industry.”

She also introduced a Green Deal Industrial Plan for the EU countries, under which the union will try to make Europe the home of cleantech and industrial innovation. The Green Deal Industrial Plan will cover four key pillars: the regulatory environment, financing, skills, and trade.

Mercom had recently reported on how U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act created concerns amongst the European countries for its protectionist intent.