How the Ukraine war is accelerating Germany’s renewable energy transition – National Geographic

by | May 6, 2022 | Energy

BerlinWhen Russian troops invaded Ukraine in the early hours of February 24, Germany woke up to an unpleasant reality: Russia is its top energy supplier, providing more than half of its natural gas and coal supplies and a third of its crude oil. In exchange, Germany sends Russia over $200 million per day—money that is now helping finance an invasion that Germans find intolerable.Last month German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, a leader of the Green Party, which entered a coalition government last fall with Prime Minister Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, pledged that Germany would stop importing oil from Russia by the end of 2022, and wean itself off Russian natural gas as soon as possible. In the short term, that may mean finding alternative suppliers for fossil fuels, including the United States.But in the long term, the crisis has only reinforced Germany’s determination to get off fossil fuels entirely, and to accelerate the Energiewende—the clean-energy transition it began some 30 years ago. The government has announced plans to give up coal entirely by 2030, eight years earlier than the target set by the previous government. It now aims for Germany to get 80 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by then, up from the previous goal of 65 percent—and nearly double the 42 percent share it supplied in 2021.A package of legislation announced last month and expected to pass this summer would increase subsidies for renewables and slash red tape that has slowed such projects in the past.“What has changed now is everyone realizes we need to ramp up renewable capacity even faster,” says Matthias Buck, Europe director at Agora Energiewende, a think tank that focuses on the energy transition. “The war is making it very clear that if you want to control your own fate, it’s better to prioritize renewables and end reliance on fossil fuels.”Germany is not alone: France, long relia …

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