The International Energy Agency (IEA) has praised Germany’s efforts to advance its clean energy transition, but says it must go beyond the electricity sector to achieve its goals.
The Paris-based agency says that the country’s energy transition – or Energiewende – is an “impressive plan”, but has highlighted a number of challenges that could affect its ability to achieve its ambitious goals.
In its latest review of German energy policies, the IEA says that Germany needs to continue investing in grid expansion and will also have to look for emission reductions in the transport and heat sectors to ensure it maintains its progress.
It also needs to address the challenges currently faced by the onshore wind energy sector, including lengthy permitting times and a growing tide of public opposition, IEA says.
“The Energiewende has been successful in electricity generation, where it has been effective at substantially increasing the share of renewable electricity supply. To further support the role of renewables, the government will need to ensure a transmission grid expansion and promote the development of hydrogen technology,” said the IEA’s Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol.
Progress in Germany’s Energiewende, which targets a 40 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-95 per cent by 2050, has been achieved largely through strong growth in renewable energy capacity.
Some of the progress has been offset by the nuclear phase-out and higher electricity exports, IEA says.
However, recently-announced plans to phase out coal-fired generation could get the country back on track, its adds.
“Building on success in the electricity sector, now the government must focus its efforts on achieving stronger emissions reductions in the transport and heating sectors. The IEA welcomes the recently adopted Climate Action Programme 2030, which includes a carbon price in the transport and heating sectors, as an important step in the right direction,” Dr Birol noted.