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Google invests $1bn on solar cells parks, German climate package costs $55bn

U.S. IT company Google on Friday, September 20, 2019 said that it would invest over $1 billion in European solar cell parks, five of which will be built in Denmark.

Angela Merkel  Google invests $1bn on solar cells parks, German climate package costs $55bn Angela Merkel
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Photo credit: REUTERS/Nicolas Asfonri/Pool

Malou Aamund, Google’s Danish director, said this in a statement on Friday.

“We have been working hard to find some projects in Denmark over the past year.

“I am happy that we have succeeded in getting the solar cell agreements in place so that we not only consume but also create green, Danish energy,’’ Aamund said.

The five Danish solar parks will have a total capacity of 160 megawatts.

The first three parks are expected to be operational by summer 2020, while the last two are expected to be ready later in the year.

The parks are to be constructed by the Danish suppliers Better Energy and European Energy.

In a related development, the climate package agreed by the German governing coalition is to cost more than $55 billion (50 billion euros), government sources said on Friday.

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The package to cut greenhouse gas emissions was agreed after weeks of coalition wrangling and an all-night negotiation session.

The measures include a ban on installing oil-fired heating in buildings from 2025, with a subsidy for householders prepared to switch to more climate-friendly alternatives.

A price for emissions of carbon dioxide has also been agreed that will take effect via trading in emissions certificates.

This will result in price rises for petrol and diesel.

The government is also reported to have agreed measures to ease the burden on consumers. 

Essentially, the German government decided to initiate carbon pricing in the transport and heating sectors. It is to start at 10 Euros and gradually rise to 35 Euros in 2025. In 2026, the pricing scheme will be converted into a national emissions trading system with a minimum price of 35 Euros and a maximum price of 60 Euros; how things will continue thereafter shall be determined in 2025.

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In a reaction to the development, Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), comments: “The climate package is a document of political despondency. With this decision, the German government will not achieve the climate targets it has set itself for 2030. Even if the architecture of a comprehensive carbon pricing system becomes visible – entry with a fixed price, a national emissions trading scheme for transport and heating in the medium term and integration into the EU Emissions Trading System in the long term – the price path is too low and does not extend far enough into the future to have a steering effect.

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“By contrast, a sensible entry price is 50 euros per tonne of CO2 and rises to 130 euros by the end of the next decade, i.e. 2030. The carbon price should be the core instrument of climate policy, but now it only has an alibi function. So, there is a huge gap between the carbon price that is necessary and the price that is now being envisaged. It is unrealistic to close this gap within the framework of the planned monitoring process.

“The Grand Coalition has not delivered on this central issue. This fact cannot be concealed by the large number of funding programmes announced – taken together, they will at most produce half of the CO2 reduction that has been agreed under the legally binding EU Effort Sharing Regulation. This does not avert the risk of multi-billion fines. Today, the Federal Government fails to give us and future generations the decisive answer to the question of ambitious climate policy.”

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