In a continued effort to push forward with Germany’s renewable energy goals, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has agreed to speed up the construction of 2,800 kilometers of high-voltage power lines, improving the grid quicker than previously planned.
Under the new plan, new transmission lines will be completed within four years as opposed to 10 years. It will cost about 10 billion euros ($13.21 billion), and the cabinet has agreed to prioritize the construction to transport power from wind turbines to industrial areas in the southern and western parts of the country.
The limited capacity and routing of existing power grids is the biggest obstacle for Germany’s transition to clean energy. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, the country decided it was time to speed up the closure of nuclear plants and put Germany on track to a cleaner future.
This agreement is a great sign that Germany is on track to succeeding with renewable energy plans. It has even set limits on the legal options opponents can pursue, as a way to deal with the strong local resistance to expanding the grid.
This is all happening despite ongoing disagreements between the EU and Germany’s economy minister. These differences might be slowing things down in the grand scheme of Europe’s emission cuts, but the important thing is that there is a common ground among leaders, who all want a well-functioning emissions certificate market. If anything, it is Germany’s willingness to act that will help achieve any goals put in place for the future.
Image CC licensed by Marco Klapper: Power lines, Germany