Germany accelerates towards sustainable energy: many more windmills

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Germany will accelerate the switch to more sustainable energy to become less dependent on fossil fuels such as coal and lignite or on Russian oil and gas.

Within ten years, the production of sustainable wind and solar energy must have doubled, and in twenty years wind farms at sea must supply ten times as much electricity.

In the so-called 'Easter package' that Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) presented on Wednesday, it is also proposed to significantly expand the production of biogas. Germany thus joins the 'energy package' that EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans presented last month, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The plans represent a compromise in the sometimes controversial debate about biomass as a renewable energy source. Proponents argue that biogas production should be increased in order to become less dependent on Russian gas.

The German Farmers' Union (DBV) is also in favor of expanding bioenergy, but believes the new German plans do not go far enough. Despite the efforts, the financial perspective for the operation of biogas installations is still lacking, says the DBV.

From the point of view of bioenergy critics, all available arable land should now be used primarily for food production and not for the production of animal feed or agrofuels. A similar proposal is also currently being discussed at EU level.

Wherever the use of biogas is possible without additional land use, for example by using residual materials that are produced anyway, this is fairly unproblematic, according to experts.

In addition to energy issues, according to Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, the Easter package also contributes to preserving and strengthening rural areas and agricultural incomes. He sees opportunities for solar panels and photovoltaic systems on arable land.

The German farmers' union DBV is less optimistic about this. According to the association, photovoltaics should "mainly take place on roofs to protect agricultural property as much as possible".