Germany is being forced to consider shutting down solar power plants and using natural gas to cool them, as Germany faces a growing carbon tax and an ever-growing electricity bill, which could push the country into a “death spiral” with no other viable energy source to provide.
As a result, German authorities are trying to limit the amount of solar power installed by closing solar plants, shutting down wind farms, and closing gas-fired power plants altogether.
As of March 1, Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (BAMF) will have to propose measures to shut down solar and wind energy plants and stop installing natural gas-burning plants.
The BAMF has proposed measures to “ensure the efficiency of electricity generation,” as well as “safeguard public health and safety,” but these proposals will not be accepted by the German government.
“Solar power is a good investment for the country, but we must protect the environment,” German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
The German government has not announced plans to shut up all renewable energy sources, but the government’s plans to close solar power will require a number of measures, including limiting the amount and type of electricity generated, closing solar projects and installing gas-fueled plants, according to the newspaper.
A report from Greenpeace Germany said that the BAMFs proposal will be rejected by the government because of the government plans to “extend and accelerate the closure of fossil-fuel generating capacity.”
“These measures will not solve the climate crisis,” said Greenpeace Germany’s head of policy, Rolf Kranz, who added that the “plan to shut all renewables will only lead to a climate disaster.”
The German solar industry is a relatively small and relatively stable industry, but it is increasingly struggling with rising energy prices, high production costs, and low profit margins.
According to a recent study by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Germany was home to about 3.4 gigawatts of solar energy capacity in 2016, and that number has grown to 6.4 GW in 2021.
The company Solar Energy Association (SEGA) also said that solar power is growing in Germany, which means that the industry could grow by an additional 1.5 GW by 2021.
“Germany is one of the world leaders in renewable energy,” said Hendricks.
“If we don’t have enough solar power, then we will become a net exporter of carbon emissions.”
In addition to the energy sector, the government is also working on a number other climate measures to deal with the increasing climate crisis.
For instance, Germany is one the only countries in Europe that does not require carbon emissions from power plants to be considered in the country’s national climate plan.
“The European Commission is working on climate policy for 2020, which includes carbon emissions,” Hendricks said.
“This means that if you can’t take care of the climate, you won’t have the capacity to deal effectively with climate change.”
Germany’s plan to cut emissions has also resulted in a decrease in energy imports from China, the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide after the U.S., which is responsible for the largest share of climate change emissions.
However, the BAMSF did not specify exactly what would happen if China stopped its emissions, but Hendricks said that if China doesn’t make the changes it is required to implement measures to curb its emissions.
“China will not have a climate policy unless it changes its emissions,” said Kranzy.
“We have to work together.”