German lawmakers back wide-ranging revision of country's renewable energy law

Germany’s Bundestag has voted in favor of a wide-ranging revision of the nation's Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) to curbing subsidies and, the lawmakers hope, slow energy price increase.
German lawmakers back wide-ranging revision of country

After a week in which parliamentary factions clashed over a last minute, EU-requested amendment to the proposed law, the modified energy law received support from 78 percent of legislators.

Those who voted against the changes said they will only serve to shift the burden of supporting renewables from businesses and industry to private citizens.

Among other things, the legislation approved on Friday places limits on just how much onshore wind and biomass will qualify for full subsidies and also lowers targets for offshore wind and solar.

After the vote in parliament, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's Economy Minister, told reporters the new support scheme was needed by excessive power price increases are making the expansion of renewables unsustainable.

In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her intention to shut all of Germany's nuclear reactors by 2012, and to have renewables supply at least 80 percent of the nation's power by 2050.

Merkel hasn't indicated any change in her goals, but the new law cuts the very subsidies many believe are necessary to attain them.

The opposition Green Party and Die Linke, both of whom voted against the bill this morning, are unwavering in their contention that the slashing of subsidies will slow and perhaps kill renewable energy projects across the country.

They also complain that while support for renewables is being cut, the nation's major industries are receiving rebates to help pay their power costs.

The law now moves to the upper house of the Bundestag, where it is scheduled to be voted on 11 July.

The upper house could, in theory delay the implementation of the changes, but that is about all they can do and most government observers believe it will bow to the inevitable and also vote in favor of the measure.

If that happens, the bill will become law on 1 August 2014.

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German Bundestag

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