FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany will do most of the work this year to prepare its power market for greater reliance on renewable supplies by the end of the decade, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday.

Habeck aims to overhaul the 550 terawatt hours-a-year (TWh) market as demand increases and production shifts to more intermittent sources as Europe’s biggest economy moves away from fossil fuels under its climate commitments.

“We will do most of the necessary work in 2023,” he said at a consultation meeting on power market reform.

Berlin’s goal is to generate 80% of electricity from the wind and sun by 2030, a target that is more pressing after the drop in Russian fossil fuel exports to Germany last year.

To back up swings in green power as more reliable nuclear and coal production is phased out, the government will prepare tenders for gas-fired power capacity, Habeck said.

A strategy for these tenders will be ready this quarter, the minister said, stressing gas will later be replaced with zero-carbon alternatives such as hydrogen made from clean power via electrolysis.

A further challenge will be the simultaneous increase in power demand as electric cars and heat pumps gain hold.

Habeck said the government was working on the assumption that national power usage would reach 700-750 TWh by the end of the decade.

Germany’s plan may set it apart from some other European Union countries that may hold on to more stable sources of power, said Habeck.

France retains a nuclear-based strategy.

“Creating alternative baseload will be a specific challenge,” said Habeck. “In a way it will be like teaching an elephant how to dance.”

(Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Miranda Murray and Mark Potter)


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