This article was published by Clean Energy Wire on March 7, 2022.
The German government has earmarked about 200 billion euros for investments in decarbonization and greater independence from imported fossil fuels over the next four years.
In an interview with public broadcaster ARD, Finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP) said the funds, which will be disbursed by 2026, will be used to boost the expansion of e-car charging infrastructure, hydrogen production, lower power prices and the construction of more renewable power sources.
Lindner called renewable power sources “freedom energies” that can allow Germany a greater degree of energy independence, and said the funding booster will contribute to a “transformation of the economy, society and the state.” It was not immediately clear how much of the sum will be additional spending.
The money will go to a transformation fund aimed at bundling activities in the energy, transport and industry sector, which was created by the previous government but given far less funding. The treasurer said further administrative steps are needed to ensure that increased spending creates the desired effects, such as removing bureaucratic hurdles and speeding up licensing processes for infrastructure projects.
Lindner stressed that the investments do not mean a change in Germany’s general aim to keep government expenditures in check through its so-called debt brake, arguing that a stable budget is “our reinsurance” against economic risks and inflation tendencies.
The promise to turbocharge climate spending comes amid worries within the Green Party and other groups that Germany’s defence policy turnaround, which comes with a pledge to invest 100 billion euros in the military, could lead to lower emissions reduction targets.
Confirming Lindner’s announcement, economy minister Robert Habeck (Green Party) told news agency Reuters that Germany must do more than ever to invest in energy independence, stressing that all parties in the new government coalition will be “pulling in the same direction.”