Altmaier: Power consumption will increase significantly | free press


Berlin (dpa) – Germany needs more electricity – for millions of electric cars, heat pumps or ‘green’ hydrogen. In 2030, electricity consumption will probably be 10 to 15 percent higher. This is evident from a new forecast that Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) presented on Tuesday.

This has very specific effects for citizens: Altmaier also believes that more new wind turbines and solar systems are needed, as well as additional electricity highways. However, such projects are often controversial on the ground.

In mid-June, Altmaier announced that it would recalculate electricity consumption by 2030. Industry associations had long predicted that much more electricity would be needed by 2030 than previously believed. So far, the federal government has assumed an electricity consumption of 580 terawatt hours in 2030. According to Altmaier, the new calculation was also necessary due to higher climate targets at EU level and in Germany.

The Prognos Institute, on behalf of the ministry, has now arrived at a first result. According to these figures, electricity consumption in 2030 will be between 645 and 665 terawatt hours. This includes 14 million electric cars, 6 million heat pumps and 30 terawatt hours of electricity for ‘green’ hydrogen – for use in the steel industry, for example. Associations assume an even greater demand for electricity, the Federal Association for Energy and Water Management BDEW around 700 terawatt hours in 2030.

Whatever number the federal government agrees on will have a major impact. “In the future, our energy supply will essentially be based on two energy sources: electricity from renewable energy sources and hydrogen, which is generated from renewable electricity,” says Altmaier.

As Germany is phasing out nuclear power by the end of 2022 and phasing out coal by 2038 at the latest – where should the electricity come from? Wind and solar expansion targets should be raised, Altmaier said — how exactly, he didn’t say.

1500 new wind turbines per year?

Simone Peter, president of the Federal Renewable Energy Association, demanded that a new federal government’s first 100-day program turn on the renewable energy turbo at the latest. Until 2030, the BDEW estimates that approximately 1,500 new onshore wind turbines will be required.

Long planning and approval procedures and many lawsuits, especially for conservation reasons, are delaying expansion. The conflict between wind energy and species protection is unresolved. Altmaier said it was about protecting species, not protecting “individual individuals.”

The energy industry sees the lack of designated space as another obstacle. Altmaier now wants to coordinate specific land use goals for each state. But these are likely to be tough conversations for a new federal government to have. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, a 1000-meter rule between wind turbines and residential areas was recently adopted by the Chancellor and Prime Minister of NRW, Armin Laschet (CDU).

More power consumption also means in Altmaier’s view: more cables. Thousands of new kilometers already have to be built to transport the wind energy mainly produced in the north to the south. Due to lengthy procedures, there are delays in the expansion of the network. In addition to the three new electricity highways already planned, Altmaier will require “if not two” additional major electricity routes until 2030. Planning and approval procedures should be significantly shortened. Goal: eight years from planning to execution.

More electric cars as a challenge

“In order to ensure that more energy comes from A to B, the expansion and conversion of the electricity and gas networks is central,” says Ingbert Liebing, head of the Association of Municipal Companies. “The coming years will be decisive as the number of electric cars and heat pumps will grow very quickly and exponentially.”

This must not be at the expense of network stability and security of supply. Altmaier stressed that network capacities had so far kept pace with consumption trends.

His new electricity forecast was described as belated in many comments. Greens and leftists complained that the Union in particular had slowed down the expansion of wind energy. SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, who recently accused the economy minister of an “electricity lie,” said renewable energy expansion targets must now be massively increased.

Altmaier wouldn’t let go of the “electricity lie”: a forecast commissioned by the SPD-led Environment Ministry showed lower consumption than a study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. On the other hand, Environment Secretary Jochen Flasbarth said: “We have been saying for a year that the previous assumptions of the Ministry of Economy can no longer be maintained. That knowledge is now finally taking hold – earlier would have been better.”