Ten percent higher than expected: Altmaier corrects electricity demand upwards

Ten percent higher than expected
Altmaier corrects electricity demand upwards

For many, the economics minister’s announcement is long overdue: 580 terawatt hours of electricity – according to the previous forecast by the federal government – will not meet the demand in Germany by 2030. Altmaier names the accelerated expansion of e-mobility as one of the reasons.

In view of the stricter climate targets and the renouncement of oil or gas, the federal government is now expecting a higher demand for electricity by 2030. According to a recent study, consumption will be around ten percent higher than previously assumed, said Economics Minister Peter Altmaier. The Prognos Institute is now assuming a consumption of 645 to 665 terawatt hours. A study from the beginning of 2020 on behalf of the ministry had assumed around 590 terawatt hours, the official government forecast was 580.

Since most of the electricity will have to be generated from renewable energies in the next few years, the new forecast should also result in an accelerated expansion of wind and solar energy. The SPD-led ministries for the environment and finance called for quick action. The new electricity forecast was long overdue.

Altmaier said the higher electricity consumption will also be triggered by the accelerated expansion of electric mobility. By 2030, 14 million cars are expected on the roads instead of the last ten million. In addition, around six million heat pumps would be installed in buildings, which also require more electricity. A strong incentive was provided by the Union and SPD, but also by other parties in the election programs, for the electricity price relief.

In addition, it is now assumed that hydrogen will be generated for 19 instead of 14 terawatt hours by 2030. This is particularly important for industry, sea and air transport in order to replace oil, coal and gas. It is clear, however, that far more hydrogen is required than can be produced in Germany. The government has therefore already initiated numerous projects with countries around the world to secure imports.

Economy sees even greater demand

The previous consumption forecast by the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been criticized for a long time. The Federal Association of the Energy Industry (BDEW) complained that the federal government should have adjusted its forecast much earlier. “However, the new CO2 reduction targets of the amended Federal Climate Protection Act have once again increased the pressure to act: The BDEW is assuming an even greater electricity requirement of around 700 terawatt hours.”

The Ministry of the Environment also considers the previously planned share of renewable energies of 65 percent to be too low. “In this decade, wind and solar energy must be expanded twice as quickly as before,” demanded State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth. “This is the only way Germany can achieve the new climate targets. The courageous expansion of renewable energies is the decisive climate protection measure for this decade.”

Finance Minister and SPD Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz said it was good that Altmaier had finally presented a realistic forecast for electricity demand. With that he admits a mistake. The expansion targets for renewable energies must now be raised quickly: “Where necessary, the laws must be adapted quickly. We have no more time to lose.”

Altmaier also considers an increase to be necessary. As a basis, however, one still has to agree on a more precise amount of electricity consumption. In addition, the areas would have to be available. He therefore called on the Ministry of the Environment to make changes to environmental and species protection regulations.

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