German renewables "could reach 50% by 2050"

Government study identifies package of measures; first green power labels awarded

A package of renewable energy support measures that could enable up to 50% of German energy to be renewable by 2050 has been presented in a study prepared for the German government. The government has already pledged to double the contribution made by renewable energy by 2010 from a 1997 baseline. The study also proposes how this could be achieved while respecting the EU single market.

The main tools proposed by a consortium of independent institutes are already introduced changes to Germany's renewable electricity support law (ENDS Daily 17 December 1999), plus green marketing to develop the electricity market. Subsidies and quotas are suggested for renewably generated heat. While none of these measures would be funded directly by tax payers, the public cost of other measures to achieve the 2010 target is estimated at euros 307m (DM600m) per year for ten years compared with a cost in 1999 of euros 225m.

There are already some 60 supply companies offering "green" electricity in Germany but sources are not all made transparent. Environment ministry spokesman Thomas Elsner said: "There is nothing to say that the power coming out of the socket when you buy [green electricity] isn't nuclear power". He said work was in progress developing criteria for a label such as the Blue Angel or similar, including stipulations such as the percentage of power which must be from renewable sources and the minimum proportion of sales revenue which must be reinvested in renewable capacity.

Earlier this week, Germany's first green electricity certificates were presented to NaturEnergie and ASEW, which supply the green electricity produced by 18 municipalities. The supply is verified by the not-for-profit Green Electricity Label company comprising NGOs BUND and NABU together with the solar industry body Eurosolar.

Meanwhile, a court in Freiburg came down against generating giant RWE when NaturEnergie accused it of being anti-competitive by describing itself as the green electricity supplier with the most customers in Europe.

Follow Up:
German environment ministry, tel: +49 30 28550. German environment agency, tel: +49 30 89031. See also the report "Climate Protection Using Renewable Energy".

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