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EON’s plan to spin off its fossil-fuel plants marks a watershed moment in Germany’s renewables push that will likely bolster the country’s already leading position in green energy.
EON’s announcement is the culmination of a push to wind, solar and other alternative energy forms that the German government began 14 years ago with subsidies to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels for power production. That plan gained added momentum in 2011 with a decision to close the country’s nuclear reactors following the Fukushima accident in Japan.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bold move is beginning to pay off, with Europe’s largest economy for the first time getting more electricity from renewables this year than any other source. About a quarter of Germany’s power comes from green energy, compared with 6.2 per cent in the US and 4.8 per cent in France.
“We are in the midst of a giant transformation process of our energy system,” Deputy Environment Minister Jochen Flasbarth said. “Renewables are the increasingly dominant factor in the German energy mix. EON’s decision is a piece of the puzzle.”
The government intends to go further, setting goals to increase the use of alternative energy sources to as much as 45 per cent of all power generated by 2035 and boost that figure to 80 per cent by 2050. Germany, where the eastern countryside is already dotted with thousands of wind turbines, plans to do that in part by expanding large-scale offshore wind plants that can produce reliably because the breeze is steadier at sea.
The company’s move to spin off its fossil-fuel plants marks key point in nation’s transition to green energy sources under Merkel’s guidance