Markets - 25/October/2019

Germany wrestles with gas

Germany’s first climate law does not include fossil gas, but behind the scenes discussions about the role of gas in the country’s energy mix, particularly hydrogen gas, is intensifying

Germany’s first climate law features a series of measures for reaching the country’s 2030 emissions reduction targets. The raft of policy proposals presented by the government on October 9, 2019 ranges from an emissions trading plan for the transport and building sectors to a target of one million charging points for electric vehicles in 2030. What is not included is a policy proposal for natural gas.

Yet this does not mean gas will no longer play a role in the country’s energy mix. On the contrary. Gas may have been removed from the major climate debate and hidden safely out of the public eye, but it is being subjected to ever intense scrutiny. On the same day the climate law was presented, Germany’s economic affairs minister Peter Altmaier presented the first (“initial”) outcome of the Gas 2030 Dialogue — a “stakeholder dialogue process” started in December 2018 by the ministry.

Under the umbrella of Gas 2030, over 100 companies, business associations, NGOs, researchers and political representatives, coordinated by DENA, the German energy agency, have been discussing the future of gas in Germany. DENA was established by the ministry of economics and technology in 2000 to implement Germany’s Climate Protection Programme, but is a private company, whose stakeholders include the state and banks KfW, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, and Allianz, a financial services company. The forum’s conclusion is that: “Natural gas will play an important role in the energy system and in industry beyond 2030.”

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