The transport minister and economics minister stand side by side on Wednesday and are happy, next to them is a decorated Christmas tree. Volker Wissing and Robert Habeck have reached an important agreement to accelerate the expansion of wind power. The exclusion zone around rotating radio beacons from weather service and air traffic control radar systems will be halved. An area of ​​19,000 square kilometers will be available for wind turbines in the future. An early Christmas present for the Economics Minister.Free testing: Discover our digital subscription. More than 100,000 subscribers read the daily mirror indefinitely.

In the end, the FDP Minister of Transport really gave the Greens Vice-Chancellor nothing. On the contrary: Just two months after the Federal Chancellor gave his word of power, Wissing questioned the final phase-out of nuclear power this week. His justification was new in the old nuclear dispute of the traffic light government. According to the minister, the high electricity costs would inhibit the switch to e-cars. Continued operation of the three remaining nuclear power plants could lower the price.

“We always have to keep an eye on what mobility costs,” Wissing repeated his reasoning on Wednesday alongside Habeck. He sees the rising energy prices with concern, people should not be overwhelmed. “Electric mobility can only make sense if it is also affordable,” said Wissing.

He receives support from FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr: “In view of the challenges in our energy supply, there must be no taboos,” he told the Tagesspiegel. Switching off the nuclear power plants would break down the climate-neutral electricity mix, and instead electric cars would run on coal-fired power.

SPD and Greens are strictly against it

But the SPD and the Greens are strictly against a renewed nuclear debate. “It will no longer be an issue because, in my opinion, the Chancellor has finally decided,” said a disgruntled Habeck next to Wissing. Internally, the coalition partners are talking about a “diversionary tactic” by Wissing. The Minister of Transport is legally obliged by the Climate Protection Act to initiate immediate measures in order to still achieve the climate targets in the transport sector. His previous proposals have all failed the experts.

And the turnaround in mobility has also been rather sluggish so far. In its coalition agreement, the traffic light has set itself the target of one million charging stations and 15 million electric vehicles by 2030 – but little of this is visible. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) calculates that only 28,000 e-cars are currently registered per month. In order to achieve the goals, the speed must increase fivefold.


The traffic light wants to put millions of electric vehicles on the road by 2030

Wolf-Peter Schill, energy expert at the DIW, currently believes that supply chain problems and long waiting times are more of an obstacle to the mobility transition. “Basically, it has a price-dampening effect if we let the nuclear power plants run longer – but it shouldn’t really be relevant,” says Schill. However, long-term high electricity prices could become a problem for e-mobility. “The more expensive the electricity, the less attractive the change is,” says Schill.

How is the demand for electricity developing?

For years, the electricity requirement in Germany has been falling to 491 terawatt hours, which was mainly due to energy efficiency. The federal government expects electricity requirements of up to 750 terawatt hours by 2030 due to the conversion of production processes in industry, more heat pumps and the mobility turnaround. 80 percent of the electricity will then come from renewable sources. In 2022, however, the proportion was still 47 percent.

The Greens and SPD also want to lower the price of electricity, but with renewables. Wissing’s suggestion is not well received there. Nuclear power is expensive and dangerous, says the deputy parliamentary group leader of the Greens, Julia Verlinden. “Any further attempt to bring an extension of running times into the debate with new flimsy justifications will fail and waste energy unnecessarily,” she told the Tagesspiegel.

Everyone should do their part to ensure that the goal of 80 percent renewable energies by 2030 is achieved. “Mr. Wissing should focus on taking up the many suggestions for more climate protection in transport and finally doing justice to his departmental responsibility,” said Verlinden.

FDP faction leader Dürr also believes that more climate protection is necessary. “Driving has to become more environmentally friendly and remain affordable – that’s why we have to allow synthetic fuels in Germany as soon as possible,” he told the Tagesspiegel. If you do without nuclear power, you have to give CO2-neutral e-fuels a chance. “Otherwise I see no chance of achieving our climate goals,” said Dürr.

But the FDP does not want to give up on nuclear power. In a leading motion for the preceding state party conference of the Baden-Württemberg Liberals, which is available to the Tagesspiegel, continued operation until mid-April is only described as a “minimum requirement of the FDP”. Because Germany’s power supply was not checked at all in the time after that, the Ministry of Economics is calling for “a new stress test at the beginning of 2023”, which should be constantly updated.A reconstruction of the nuclear power plant decision This is how Olaf Scholz came to power Head of the Federal Network Agency in an interview “At minus ten degrees, gas consumption skyrockets – that’s a risk” 80 years of nuclear power The hope rests on mini reactors – but so far there are only prototypes

That is why the state FDP also wants to speak out against the dismantling of the Emsland, Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 kilns: “Rather, appropriate precautions must be taken so that the safe power operation of the three nuclear power plants can be resumed at any time as soon as there is a power shortage. This also includes clarifying “right now” “where and under what conditions and how quickly new fuel elements can be procured”.

Michael Theurer, who formulated the application, is not only FDP head of state in the southwest, but also Wissing’s state secretary and the federal government’s railway representative. “Electricity not only has to remain affordable for consumers and power-intensive sectors of the economy, but also has to be available for the expansion of electromobility and rail operations,” he told the Tagesspiegel. His federal state in particular has “an interest in continued operation of the nuclear power plants beyond April 15 due to its location in the German energy grid”. There will probably be no other gifts from the FDP for Habeck.

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