Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Ulrich Kelber Interview

Ulrich Kelber is the expert for energy questions at the SPD, which is the junior partner in the coalition government coming up in Germany as a consequence of the latest elections. PV Magazine has published an interesting interview with him (in German). Thanks for Franz Alt’s Sonnenseite for the link.

While the coalition has agreed on a basic policy document, that certainly doesn’t mean that the CDU and the SPD agree on these questions in all respects. Kelber gives some insider background information.

For one, the SPD wanted a goal of 75 percent renewable share of electricity by 2030. That would have been 25 percent more than the existing 2030 goal of 50 percent. But there was strong opposition from Chancellor Merkel to that idea. Which is why we are stuck with a much more modest goal of 40 to 45 percent by 2025.

We learn two things from that. For one, this result is in line with what the voters wanted, since Merkel’s CDU got much more votes than Kelber’s CDU. While I don’t like the result, it is certainly what basic values of democracy require.

And we also learn that CDU policy is to go slow, and the SPD is the party in the coalition that wants to speed things up. Maybe someone should tell Chancellor Merkel that we have somewhat of a problem with global warming. And that having a fast transition will cost much less than a slow one, since it saves more fossil fuel import costs earlier on.

Anyway, the good news is of course that there are still multiple elections coming up until 2030. Maybe we will get a Chancellor Kelber in one of those. Or maybe whoever is Merkel’s successor at the CDU takes a different position.

Kelber also points out that an additional 20 percent in the next ten years is about the same speed as Germany got in average for the last 12 years.

On the other hand, that is counting some of the early years with rather small capacity additions. We now have much lower costs and a much larger installation base, with the know-how and large installation market that come with those things, so staying at the average speed of the last twelve years doesn’t seem to be very impressive. But it is probably the best the SPD could get with this coalition partner.

One sentence in the basic agreement says that the coalition will “think about” introducing a requirement for renewable energy installations to guarantee a part of their capacity to be available at all times. Kelber doesn’t think that this will be actually enacted. He says the idea is “crazy” (abstrus).

I agree. Again, this point shows that the agreement doesn’t mean that all differences of opinion between the SPD and the CDU have disappeared overnight.

In contrast, Kelber cautiously supported the idea of an auction model to determine feed-in tariffs for large-scale installations. I recall that that was one of the things the EU Commission wants as well. He also mentioned that there will be pilot projects in 2016.

Anyway, the really good news wasn’t even mentioned in the interview. It is very simple.

Before the election, the CDU was the party advocating a faster transition, and the FDP coalition partner was always hitting the brakes full force.

Now the CDU is the slower partner, and the SPD will try to get things done faster.

That’s progress.

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

is a professor of German and European Law at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, blogging since 2003 at Lenz Blog. A free PDF file of his global warming science fiction novel "Great News" is available here.


You May Also Like


The solid-state EV battery of the future is not quite there yet, but BMW Group has seen enough to nail down an R&D partnership...


Almost one out of every three new vehicles sold in Germany in 2022 had a plug.

Clean Power

One of the big criticisms anti-EV people try to level against cleaner vehicles is the environmental costs of production. In many cases, it’s a...


There's a lot to like in the new US transportation decarbonization blueprint. It's actually very good in most ways, which is excellent to see...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.