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German SPD includes pledge for wind, solar in manifesto

26 Jun 2017 15:23 (+01:00 GMT)
German SPD includes pledge for wind, solar in manifesto

London, 26 June (Argus) — Germany's SPD party yesterday passed the final version of its election manifesto, which includes an explicit pledge for continued support for wind and solar power for the first time.

The SPD's extraordinary congress yesterday unanimously passed the manifesto, with which Martin Schulz will lead the party into general elections on 24 September.

The final version includes a passage on renewable energy that was absent from draft versions of the manifesto. The continued expansion of renewable energy is a question "of fairness", according to the final document. Onshore and offshore wind and photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity are the most cost-efficient energy sources in the long term, it adds.

The SPD group in the lower house of parliament on 21 June presented a position paper on climate protection measures. It had called for a greater role for renewables in power generation and in the heating and transport sectors through so-called "sector coupling".

The election manifesto that was passed yesterday is otherwise largely in line with the draft from the [end of May] (https://direct.argusmedia.com/newsandanalysis/article/1466439).

The SPD also vowed to start negotiations with other EU member states on an EU-wide carbon floor price, but only if the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) cannot be reformed in a way to allow it to fulfil its role as the central climate protection instrument. The first SPD manifesto draft offered unequivocal support for negotiations on a EU-wide carbon floor price.

The position paper included a proposal to allow member states to cut their EU ETS auction supply if other policies lead to falling national demand for allowance. The manifesto passed yesterday does not include the pledge for a closer link between national climate policies and the EU ETS.

The final manifesto repeats the draft's support for modern combined heat and power (CHP) plants and the party's position that natural gas and power-to-gas facilities in combination with existing gas infrastructure will become increasingly important for a flexible, secure and low-emitting energy mix in Germany.

And the final manifesto repeats a pledge to review alternative ways to fund Germany's energy transition. The FDP party in its manifesto has gone further, calling for an end to the renewable energy act (EEG) by the end of the next legislative period, in 2021. The EEG is Germany's flagship scheme to fund subsidies for renewable energy facilities.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU-CSU union plans to present its election manifesto on 3rd July. Members of her party have previously called for the EEG to be replaced with an alternative system to pay for subsidies for new renewable energy capacity.

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