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Germany Slows Pace Of Green Energy Transition

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Frank Zeller, AFP

Germany on Wednesday moved to slow the rapid growth of subsidised renewable energy to cap rising costs, drawing fire from environmentalists who charged it is betraying its ambitious climate goals.

To boost competition in the clean-energy sector, wind and solar projects will from next year be put out to tender, rather than automatically launched with generous state subsidies and guaranteed returns.

Under its energy transition plan, Europe’s top economy is phasing out nuclear power by 2022 and reducing climate-harming carbon fuels while boosting clean energy sources to meet 80 percent of power needs by 2050.

State support has helped raise the share of wind, solar and other renewables to about one third of electricity production last year.

But those subsidies are financed by households and many companies as they are largely passed on as surcharges on power bills.

Big power companies including EON, REW and Vattenfall have meanwhile suffered as the price of wholesale electricity has plummeted amid the surge in green energy output, making many conventional plants unprofitable.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government hailed its reforms as a “paradigm shift” to make the energy transition more economically viable, but environmentalists charged it torpedoes Germany’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals.

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