Germany’s energy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, is planning to cut subsidies for onshore wind turbines by 20% in 2015, compared to last year’s funding, noted Bloomberg. Also, Germany’s former environmental minister said about half a year ago that solar subsides would be scrapped by 2018.
Gabriel says the cuts are necessary as Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to pay the costs associated with her plan to close the country’s nuclear plants in favor of renewables. Gabriel wants to keep wind-turbine subsides under 9 euro cents per kilowatt hour in 2015 and halt expansion to 2.5 gigawatts (GW) a year. According to the plan, if developers’ units were authorized before Jan. 22, 2014 and enter operation this year, they can get the current subsidies.
Though General Electric (GE) produces components for wind energy, a company official said he agrees with reducing subsidies for the industry. “Germany should focus on innovation rather than subsidies and building,” said Stephan Reimelt, GE’s head of energy in Germany. “There is $230 million euros of [research and development] budget for this space and $20 billion euros of subsidies for renewables.”
Germany was the world’s biggest solar market in three of four years 2009-2012. During this period, solar installation dropped from 7.6GW to 3.3. Germany is hoping to maintain its goal to get 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2050. Today, the figure is about 25%.
Koernig is calling for gradual subsidy cuts, so the government doesn’t “choke off” the market. Meanwhile, Sylvia Pilarsky-Grosch, president of Bundesverbandes WindEnergie, said the proposed cuts would put a halt to an “energy revolution.”
“The acceptance (of renewable energy) by the people is enormous, the demand for 100-percent renewable power is growing,” she said. “To successfully continue on the path … we need a courageous policy,” Pilarsky-Grosch said in a statement.
“The proposals of the minister of energy are going in the wrong direction. The energy revolution is liable to be thwarted.”