Merkel and Gabriel

The junior partner in the German government, the Social Democrats, says that the country’s energy transition cannot be held up while the other governmental parties resolve their internal differences on power transmission.

“We can’t put the Energiewende on ice until the internal differences within the CSU have been cleared up,” said Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
Merkel and Gabriel
“By doing so we would push up electricity prices for industry and consumers further,” he said, adding the grid regulator will press ahead with its planning for all legally intended new power lines.

Angela Merkel’s government have delayed a decision on whether to build power transmission lines between the windy north and industrial south until the end of June amid divisions over the plan within the governing coalition.

Industry-rich Bavaria is required to have enough energy to cope when nuclear plants are switched off in the region. Two “electricity highways” are planned to transport wind energy from the north but Bavarian state premier and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer has questioned the need for the transmission lines, bowing to concerns from local citizens that masts up to 70 metres high could be erected in their backyards. Instead he wants to subsidise gas power stations.

The CSU is the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Merkel said a committee of her coalition government had decided to resolve the issue of the power lines “before the summer.”

The committee will also review other topics related to the Energiewende, including what energy mix is needed to allow Germany to achieve its goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels.