1st Franco-German energy conference in Paris
Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier wants to push forward cooperation between Germany and France on transforming the two countries’ energy systems. At the first Franco-German energy conference in Paris the Environment Minister today advocated making energy policy a new big project the two neighbouring countries can identify with. “We want Germany and France to lead the way and become the driving force behind new growth and new opportunities across the continent and around the world,” he said.
Peter Altmaier called to mind that Germany and France were already spearheading energy production from renewable sources in Europe. “Despite the different paths our energy policies have taken in the past, we now have similar goals: France’s transition énergétique aims to reduce the share of nuclear in the energy mix from currently 75 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025 and to significantly increase the share of renewable energies. That is just as ambitious as Germany’s goal under the transformation of the energy system of completely phasing out nuclear power by 2022 and achieving a share of at least 50 per cent of renewables in electricity production by 2030,” Altmaier went on.
Closer European cooperation creates the opportunity to increase supply security across Europe while at the same time lowering costs. France, for example, is currently sporadically experiencing negative prices for electricity, because inflexible nuclear power plants cannot react to fluctuations in demand. “Today, Germany and France are facing a new challenge that will shape the 21st century like hardly any other: the dawn of a new energy era,” the German Environment Minister said. He called on Europe as a whole to adopt an ambitious climate and energy policy: “We will continue supporting an ambitious climate policy. That includes reforming the EU Emissions Trading System, which the European Parliament is set to vote on later this week. In addition, we also need to set targets for the expansion of renewable energies and increasing energy efficiency for 2030. That will not only enable Europe to save billions of euros in energy imports but will also increase its competitiveness.”
The first Franco-German energy conference gathered together decision-makers from the realms of politics, science and the energy sector in Europe’s two leading economies. The conference is a manifestation of the new, intensive cooperation on transforming the two countries’ respective energy systems – known as the Energiewende in Germany and transition énergétique in France. The two environment ministers had agreed on and prepared their new close cooperation in this policy area over the course of several meetings that began at the start of the year. A joint office for renewable energy will ensure close coordination between the respective projects.