Germany Faces Headwinds in Its Efforts to Become Carbon
David Lawrence builds on an extensive research, commercial and energy exploration and production background with Shell in providing market-savvy solutions to the energy industry, service companies and related businesses. Informed by the global perspective he gained while at Shell, and experienced across the energy sector from fossil fuels to renewables, David Lawrence’s activities include developing realistic and implementable business strategies for addressing the current transition to sustainable energies.

With Germany having made a concerted effort toward decarbonizing its economy, it has a national goal of becoming completely carbon neutral by 2050. A major part of this effort is 30,000 wind turbines, many of which run across the northern German coast from the Polish to the Dutch border. All together, these turbines produce energy equivalent to what 10 nuclear reactors generate. 

Unfortunately, massive efforts over the past five years, totaling $181 billion, have not made as significant a dent in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions as expected. It is predicted that Germany will fall well short of its 2020 objective of bringing emissions to a level 40 percent lower than they were in 1990. 

With emissions remaining stubbornly at the level of a decade ago, Germany is still the continent’s leading coal producer and burner. Further, its transportation sector emissions are one-fifth higher than in 1995, and a renewable energy surcharge has caused a spike in German electricity bills. Other major obstacles include auto sector opposition as well a region-wide failure to place a significant price on carbon. 

As subsidies are on the wane, a major question is whether market forces can now support further solar and wind adoption. With natural gas-fired generation not going away, and the country planning to open its doors to US exports of LNG, a major expansion of offshore wind turbines could reduce the need for coal, with electric vehicles also taking up slack.
Germany Faces Headwinds in Its Efforts to Become Carbon
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Germany Faces Headwinds in Its Efforts to Become Carbon

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