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- | Berlin, 23.02.2012

Joint press release by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

Rösler/Röttgen: Energy reform well underway

Federal Economics and Environment Ministries present joint position on tariff payments for photovoltaics and on the Energy Efficiency Directive

Federal Economics Minister Philipp Rösler and Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen presented a common position of the Federal Government on tariff payments for electricity generated from photovoltaics and on the proposed EU Energy Efficiency Directive today.

The two ministers stated that the proposals aim to foster the accelerated implementation and the success of Germany's radical energy reform. The radical energy reform is one of the most significant infrastructure and modernisation projects of the coming decades. It brings great opportunities for industry and commerce in Germany. If it is to succeed and to meet with public acceptance, it will have to be cost-efficient and set the right economic incentives. The two proposals both meet these criteria.

Rösler: "Improving the level of energy efficiency is a fundamental pillar of our Energy Concept. We have already achieved a great deal in recent years. For years, Germany's economy has been recording impressive growth, yet its energy consumption has been declining. The agreement now reached on Article 6 of the EU's Energy Efficiency Directive leaves the member states the necessary flexibility in terms of the formulation of the national target - to save energy or to improve energy efficiency - and of the choice of instruments to attain this target. At the same time, the proposal is ambitious, because the member states are setting binding national targets for the first time. As in the past, we will not impose legislation stipulating how much energy an economy or a certain sector is permitted to consume in future, and we will not force any player to take prescribed measures."

Röttgen: "Our proposal on assistance for photovoltaics aims to effectively limit the quantity of new capacity and the costs. At the same time, we are providing a stable policy environment for the PV industry, so that it can continue to survive on the world market in future. We are thus continuing our approach of providing cost-efficient support for photovoltaics. The new proposal cuts the tariff rates by half compared with 2009. With regard to the sharp rise in new capacity seen in the last two years, the renewed adjustment of assistance primarily aims to keep the renewable energies surcharge stable for the electricity consumer and to maintain public acceptance of photovoltaics and renewable energy in general. The aim is for photovoltaics to achieve market maturity in a few years so that the technology can be used without any subsidies at all."

Rösler and Röttgen stressed their desire to work together to make a success of the energy reforms. The restructuring of Germany's energy supply was decided half a year ago by the Federal Government and the Länder, since when the implementation has been taking place step by step. They mentioned for example the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act, the presentation of a grid development plan scheduled for this summer, the revision to improve the support for cogeneration of heat and power, the KfW's much-used 5-billion loan programme for offshore wind power, the revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act and the financial support via the KfW for the modernisation of buildings - the tax section of which is regrettably being blocked by the SPD and the Green Party in the mediation committee. The ministers further pointed out that the Economics Ministry established a Grid Platform last year involving the Environment Ministry. It is constantly drafting recommendations for action regarding urgent issues affecting the electricity grid. Also, specific monitoring for the realisation of urgent grid projects is being put in place. The Federal Economics Ministry will also be involved in the founding by the Federal Environment Ministry of a "Renewable Energies Platform", which in particular is to plan the expansion of renewables and enhanced co-ordination of this with the expansion of the grid. A Federal Government steering group at State Secretary level headed by the Economics and Environment Ministries is to co-ordinate the work on implementing the energy reforms. Agreement was also reached on the principles and structures of the monitoring of the energy restructuring.

Both ministers stressed that the priority for them is on the rapid implementation in practice of the decisions on the energy changes. To this end, there is close co-operation between the two ministries. "The success of the energy reforms is a top priority for the Federal Government. We are working together to steer this project in a way that creates unique opportunities for our companies in international competition."

Röttgen und Rösler am Rednerpult.

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