New reports have confirmed that Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has hammered out a new agreement with state leaders to restrict onshore wind expansion to 2.8 GW per year.
According to reports from Reuters and other news outlets, Angela Merkel met with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states in a meeting that stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning to work out the framework for a new deal with state premiers to curb the speed, and therefore the cost, of the future expansion of renewable energy. Specifically, the German Government has agreed to limit the expansion of onshore wind capacity to 2.8 GW per year, which is the equivalent of around 1,000 wind turbines.
Reuters also reported that only a certain amount of new capacity will be allowed to be installed in north Germany so as to avoid overburdening the electricity grid in that region.
Upper limits have also been placed on the expansion of solar. Large-scale solar installations are now capped at 600 MW per year, however, government support for installations smaller than 750 kW will continue so as not to hamper the roll-out of rooftop solar.
“We have come a long way,” Merkel told reporters following the meeting.
Premier Carsten Sieling, of the northwest state of Bremen, said that negotiations had covered 90% of the ground necessary, presumably referring to the lack of limits on biomass or offshore wind.
Germany has long been a leading renewable energy developer, with impressive solar and wind capacity figures. Germany is one of the world’s leading providers of renewable energy jobs, though its recent climate and clean energy policies have seen it sink somewhat in rankings throughout Europe, falling to the bottom of the Big Five economies, and into a middling position of all EU member nations.
Despite the benefits to the renewable energy industry, the fast-paced expansion has had a momentary negative effect on the country’s electricity costs, with government subsidies allowing for massive expansion beyond what the nation’s grid can handle adequately.
The new framework agreement will now go to the Cabinet in the coming weeks, and state leaders are hoping it will become law at the start of 2017.