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Close cooperation on harnessing alternative energy sources

The German federal and state governments have agreed to instigate intensive consultation and coordination procedures as Germany moves away from conventional energy sources toward renewables.

Sunset behind pylons and wind turbines Discussing the energy supply for the future Photo: picture-alliance/ZB

At six-monthly meetings, the Chancellor will discuss progress achieved and tasks ahead with the state premiers. The next topic on the agenda will be the expansion of the electricity grid.After a three-hour meeting with state premiers Chancellor Angela Merkel underscored their shared will to make the shift towards renewables work. "We want this to succeed, each of us in our own field of responsibility." That is why there is to be in-depth coordination of the steps ahead.

At top level, coordination will be the responsibility of the Chancellor herself and the state premiers at six-monthly meetings. The process will be taking place within the context of an in-depth exchange between line ministries at federal and state level.

Both federal and state governments also advocate greater European cooperation in the field of energy policy, declared Federal Economics Minister Philipp Rösler. This should embrace civil society, the energy sector and local authorities.

Expanding electricity grids

In June the Chancellor will be discussing energy policy again with the state premiers. The main topic on the agenda will be the first draft of plans to expand the national electricity grid. The plan is to be submitted next week by grid operators to the Federal Network Agency. It will identify the network elements that will have to be built over the next ten years. By the end of the year federal and state governments will consult and coordinate action to be taken on this important energy issue.

"Safe, environmentally sound and affordable"

As well as laying down general procedure, specific duties were also allocated at the meeting. The bottom line is that, "Energy supplies must be safe, environmentally sound and affordable for the people in Germany," stressed the Chancellor.

A wide spectrum of issues were on the agenda; expanding electricity grids, connecting the offshore wind farms up to the national grid, and research into technologies for storing power.

The top-level meeting also discussed how to better dovetail stepping up the role played by renewables with moves to modernise the power grids. Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier announced that he would be bringing this issue to the Renewable Energies Platform.

Agreement to be achieved on the Renewable Energies Law

Since the electricity generated from wind and solar power obviously fluctuates, power stations must be in place to make good any shortfalls. The federal government will be drawing up a proposal as to how to put in place “capacity markets” of this sort.

The representatives of federal and state governments also agreed to set up a working group to rework the Renewable Energy Bill rejected by the second chamber of the German parliament, the Bundesrat. The aim is to achieve an agreement through mediation before the summer break.

May 23, 2012