Germany: Cabinet meeting focuses on energy transition, AI

The German Cabinet was holding a two-day closed meeting in Meseberg to discuss the energy transition and digital policy, two contentious issues for the coalition parties.

Though divisions remain behind the scenes, during a press conference German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Vice Chancellor and Economy and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck, and Finance Minister Christian Lindner said the meeting had a positive outcome.

Quicker approvals for renewable energy 

“We have to and we want to embrace progress more. We need more speed. And we need more confidence,” Scholz said. For this, bureaucratic hurdles in the building of wind turbines and other sources of renewable energy needed to be diminished.

“We need to put up four to five new wind turbines a day by 2030 and the equivalent of more than 40 football fields full of solar panels a day,” he said. 

The three senior politicians agreed that digitization and artificial intelligence could be used to further grow Germany’s economy and to brace the country for its upcoming energy transition. 

Artificial intelligence to speed up energy transition

“Artificial intelligence, the digitalization of our economy and transformation will bring prosperity and growth to our country and also to Europe for years to come,” Habeck said.

Habeck said there had not been any renewable energy sources in Germany 25 years ago. He said he felt confident the country could transition to climate-neutral in the next quarter of a century.

When asked about a study published by his ministry on Monday, Habeck said reducing costs caused by climate change through prevention was always the best measure.

The study estimated that climate change could cost Germany €280 to €900 billion ($298 to $960 billion) by 2050.

What else was mentioned during the press conference?

During the conference, Scholz emphasized Germany’s ongoing support foe Ukraine while Habeck stressed efforts to wean Germany off of Russian oil and gas. He was confident that energy prices in the upcoming winter would not rise as significantly as they did in the last.

Lindner made clear that there had not been any discussion about ministry budgets during the Cabinet meeting.