Energy policy faces a momentous challenge, here in Germany and worldwide. The problems of climate change, growing energy hunger, mounting resource scarcity and rising energy prices all require solutions which meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We believe that renewable energies, energy efficiency and energy saving are the key levers for the attainment of climate goals and the sustainable modernisation of the energy supply. The Greens' "Energy Concept 2050: Safe and Renewable" is based on the principle that the energy supply must move beyond uranium, coal and oil. We Greens are firm advocates for an energy and climate policy which is centred around the needs of society, not the energy companies' short-sighted interests.
In the electricity sector, we aim to effect the switch to renewable energy sources – wind, solar, hydropower, biomass and geothermal – preferably by 2030. We want to reduce electricity consumption by 16 per cent by 2020 and by at least 25 per cent by 2050, compared with the 2005 baseline. We aim to have a full supply of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
In the buildings and heating sector, we aim to effect the switch to renewable energies preferably by 2040. We also want to increase the upgrading rate for buildings to 3 per cent per year, which will modernise and improve the energy performance of the entire stock of existing buildings within 30 or 40 years.
We are firm advocates of an ambitious climate strategy for the transport sector and aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 compared with the 1990 baseline. We aim to increase the share of renewable energies – biofuels and green electricity – in the transport sector to 15 per cent by 2020, with a view to effecting the switch to renewable energies by 2040.
The key steps: an overview
In the electricity sector, we want:
- To drive the phase-out of nuclear power: this includes the immediate shut-down of the eight oldest and most unsafe nuclear power stations, the introduction of a nuclear fuel rod tax, an increase in the level of funding provided by nuclear power plant operatorsto cover their payment obligations in the event of nuclear accidents, the transfer of the nuclear industry's financial reserves to a public fund, and an open-ended search process for a new disposal site for nuclear waste with various options.
- To stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants by introducing an efficiency standard for fossil power plants.
- To introduce an Energy Efficiency Act with a mandatory saving quota for energy suppliers, and to establish an independent Energy Efficiency Agency and an Energy Saving Fund as a means of financing the replacement of inefficient electric heating systems, the purchase of highly energy-efficient appliances and machines, and advisory services on energy saving.
- To promote the expansion of renewable energies by retaining and developing the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), combined with better grid and system integration through the expansion and restructuring of grids and support for the development of storage technologies.
- To drive forward the development and expansion of power grids and place them under public control; to expand the network of underground cables instead of controversial overhead cables, and to provide €500 million by 2013 for grid planning, the promotion of smart grid technology, and the construction of a high voltage direct current transmission system.
- To abolish exemptions to the eco-tax and environmentally harmful subsidies, and set a lower CO2 cap for the European Union.
In the heating sector, we aim:
- To establish binding upper limits on energy consumption in buildings, and to introduce more stringent provisions under the Energy Conservation Ordinance for newbuilds and refurbishment projects.
- To increase annual funding for the CO2 Building Rehabilitation Programme to at least €2.2 billion on a permanent basis and provide support for energy saving measures, especially for low-income households, from an Energy Saving Fundwith a budget of €3 billion.
- To introduce an entitlement to rent reductions in cases where rental properties violate energy saving standards, and oblige tenants to tolerate energy efficiency improvement measures.
- To increase the payment for energy-efficient combined heat and power generation (CHP), extend the support scheme for this form of power generation, and make the use of CHP mandatory for industrial heating.
- To extend the mandatory use of renewable heat energy to existing buildings and increase the quota for newbuilds.
In the transport sector, we aim:
- To avoid traffic and promote a modal shift through support for local public transport, walking and cycling, sustainable logistical strategies for commerce and industry, and the expansion of the rail network.
- To increase efficiency: ambitious CO2 emissions targets for cars of no more than 80g/km by 2020 and 50g/km by 2030, with the introduction of a CO2-based vehicle tax and abolition of tax privileges granted to large, fuel-inefficient company cars, expansion of the tolls payable by heavy goods vehicles, and a speed limit of 120 km/h on the motorways.
- To promote low-carbon propulsion systems for electric mobility with a market introduction programme aimed at putting two million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020, along with reliable certification of sustainable biofuels. Biomass – unlike wind, solar or hydropower – does not have unlimited applications. In order to avoid adverse effects, such as increased land-use competition, policy measures and appropriate support mechanisms must be put in place to defuse existing conflicts.
- To abolish environmentally harmful subsidies: all CO2 emissions allowances in the aviation sector to be auctioned. The energy tax exemption in aviation (kerosene tax) and commercial shipping should also be scrapped.