Germany takes steps to roll back renewable energy revolution

Germany is taking steps to curb its booming windfarm sector in what it claims is a necessary move to stop the renewables revolution from undermining its own success, The Guardian reports. 

Critics, however, say the step will deal a blow to the country’s reputation as a leader in green energy.

According to leaked plans from the German federal network agency, published on Tuesday in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the government has had to halve its original target for expanding its windfarms in the gale-beaten northern flatlands because it cannot extend its power grid quickly enough to the energy-hungry south.

When Angela Merkel announced in May 2011 that Germany would seek to phase out its fleet of nuclear reactors by 2022, questions arose as to whether renewable sources of energy, such as wind or solar, could grow quickly enough to meet the requirements of German industry.

Germany’s plans to phase out nuclear energy is creating diplomatic headaches, too. Cheap excess energy produced by German windfarms and coal power stations is often exported to neighbouring states such as Poland, the Czech Republic or Austria, where it plays havoc with local networks and impedes those countries from building up their own sustainable systems.

While the German government admits that transforming its energy infrastructure is a more complex undertaking than originally thought, officials insist that it remains on track to meet ambitious goals, including a 50% share for renewables in gross electricity consumption by 2030.

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