Germany confirms further 8GW of wind and solar infrastructure by 2021
The German ruling coalition this week confirmed it will add 8GW of solar and wind power to the country’s national grid over the next three years, Green Tech Media reports.
Early in 2018, the coalition treaty established between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Union alliance and the Social Democratic Party agreed to hold ‘special auctions’, in order to award 4GW of solar and 4GW of onshore wind contracts.
According to an agreement reached in November, “the federal government will hold auctions to procure 1 gigawatt each for onshore wind and solar in 2019, increasing to 1.4 gigawatt for each in 2020 and 1.6 gigawatt for each in 2021.”
These measures are predicted to reduce Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions by ‘up to 10mn tons’ by 2020. The German government intends for the measures to keep the country within reach of its target, to be 65% powered by renewable sources by 2030. According to Green Tech Media, renewables are expected to account for 38% of Germany’s energy consumption in 2018.
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“The decision to maintain the 4 GW additional onshore wind capacity while stretching the tender period to three instead of two years is generally seen as a positive sign by BWE” (the German Wind Energy Association), said Christoph Zipf, spokesperson for the organisation. He continued by cautioning that “this must not hide the fact that the expansion path for renewables still lags far behind what would be necessary to implement the energy transition in Germany and to live up to the Paris climate change agreement.”
Zipf stated that “different studies and projections come to the result that in order to reach this goal, an annual installation of 5 gigawatts wind onshore is required.” Currently, although 8GW over three years maintain’s Germany’s position as the largest producer of photovoltaic and wind power in the EU, according to Greenmatch, “with the current expansion rates, the target of 65 percent renewables in 2030 under the coalition agreement will not be achieved,” said Henrik Maatsch, policy adviser, climate and energy, WWF Germany.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.