German Chancellor Angela Merkel is tightening her grip on the biggest energy overhaul in the country’s history, assigning a party enforcer to speed the transition amid signs her 12-month-old policy shift has stalled.
Peter Altmaier, the chief whip and deputy floor leader of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, tomorrow is set to take the environment minister post. The following day he’ll begin negotiating with leaders of Germany’s states at a meeting with Merkel after they rejected a government bill in the upper house that would have cut solar-power subsidies by a record this year.
“The German energy transformation is seriously lagging behind,” Lutz Mez, a political scientist focused on energy policy at Berlin’s Free University, said in a telephone interview. “The government sowed insecurity when it comes to supporting renewables with its solar aid cuts and failed to boost energy efficiency. Peter Altmaier will have to come up with fresh solutions very quickly.”
One year after Merkel abandoned her support for atomic power in favor of shifting to renewable sources in response to the tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima, she’s taking greater control of the historic switch planned for Europe’s biggest energy market.
Well, the good news is that for every extra dollar the Germans spend on power at home, is one less dollar wasted propping up Greece.
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