Robert Habeck is a big fan of renewable energy. The energy minister of the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein has a vision of a land crowded with wind turbines. By 2025, he wants his state to produce three times more power from renewable sources than it consumes, putting it at the forefront of Germany’s drive to expand renewable energy.
It’s not an unrealistic plan by the Green party politician, who wants to become his party’s leading candidate in the 2017 general election. The expansion of power generation from wind, sun and biomass is advancing so rapidly across Germany that the Federal Economics Ministry is forecasting that renewable energy will reach a share of around 40 percent of total power generation as soon as 2020.
That’s according to a letter by the ministry to lawmakers from the ruling conservatives in the German lower house of parliament, or Bundestag. It means Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is well ahead of schedule in its energy transition, known as the “Energiewende,” launched in 2011 — a bold plan to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and wean Europe’s largest economy off fossil fuels by 2050.