Energy crisis: State ministers discuss high energy prices

The energy ministers of the federal states will meet in Hanover on Wednesday (10:00 a.

Energy crisis: State ministers discuss high energy prices

The energy ministers of the federal states will meet in Hanover on Wednesday (10:00 a.m.) to discuss how to deal with the energy crisis.

The focus is on security of supply, rising prices and the stress test presented by the federal government, as announced by the responsible ministry in Lower Saxony. The country currently chairs the round.

The results will be presented in the afternoon (3:30 p.m.). The Ministers of Lower Saxony and Bavaria, Olaf Lies (SPD) and Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters), Baden-Württemberg Minister Thekla Walker (Greens) and the State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics, Patrick Graichen, will take part in a press conference.

Read about electricity prices: "We urgently need a solution"

Lies emphasized in advance that the main topic of discussion was ways to reduce the sometimes "absurdly high" prices, especially for electricity. "We urgently need a solution so that we can get relief," he told the German Press Agency. One could also talk about measures such as the reduction in electricity tax demanded by many or a reform of network charges. "But such points would currently only depress the electricity price insignificantly," Lies estimated.

"It is much more important that we get a new electricity price system," said the Lower Saxony minister. To do this, one must first of all overcome the traditional coupling of gas and electricity prices. "At the current level, it can no longer be that the already high gas prices then cause completely exorbitant electricity prices." In addition, the control of the networks must become "more intelligent", and the southern federal states must also do more to expand them.

Discussion about nuclear power plants

The stress test also sparked new discussions with a view to continuing to operate the three remaining German nuclear reactors. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had announced on the basis of the test results that two of the three nuclear power plants should be available as a reserve until mid-April 2023.

He thinks that's understandable, said Lies - but it must clearly be about the idea of ​​​​the reserve. "We have to be careful that it's not just about using fuel rods for a profit or even procuring more fuel rods. In my view, that's not a point."

Aiwanger again accused the federal government of serious omissions before the conference with his country colleagues. "Germany is heading towards a power and supply gap with its eyes wide open," he told the German Press Agency in Munich. "The federal government is missing too many opportunities to get the current energy crisis under control," said the Bavarian Deputy Prime Minister.

The Free Voters chief emphasized the possible contribution of nuclear power. Specifically, Aiwanger demanded from the federal government and the EU, in addition to a rapid reduction in electricity prices, an extension of the running times for the remaining German nuclear power plants. "Due to a delivery time of around twelve months, new fuel rods can be ordered quickly in order to secure the power supply in the winter of 2023/24."

Aiwanger: Facilitate the change for companies

Furthermore, according to Aiwanger, there is a need for fewer requirements for biogas plants, more photovoltaic power generation and an easier switch for companies when it comes to their energy sources away from gas. He also advocated hydrogen filling stations and a nationwide hydrogen pipeline network in southern Germany, more geothermal energy and better investment conditions for pumped storage power plants.

Schleswig-Holstein's Energy Minister Tobias Goldschmidt, on the other hand, is calling for a rapid reform of the distribution grid fees. A new regulation is overdue here, said the Green politician of the German Press Agency in Kiel: "We expect the federal government to tackle the issue quickly." From Goldschmidt's point of view, the current system is unfair because it puts regions with few people and a lot of renewable energy production, such as Schleswig-Holstein, at a disadvantage compared to those with many people and a lot of electricity consumption.

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