Merkel Not Doing Enough to Speed Shift to Renewables, Poll Shows

Jan 22, 2014 12:02 pm ET

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Germany isn’t doing enough to shift energy output to renewables from nuclear, according to the Allensbach polling company.

While 71 percent of Germans support Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to close all atomic reactors by 2022, only a third feel her second-term government did a good job of managing the project, Allensbach chief Renate Koecher said today, without saying how many people were surveyed or when. A total of 67 percent said little to no progress has been made.

Merkel has pledged to make changes to clean-power subsidies in her third term, which began last month, after rising costs for wind and solar generation drove up consumer energy bills. Germans pay more for electricity than any other European Union nation except Denmark.

“The biggest concern is energy prices,” Koecher said at a conference in Berlin. “Even so, rising prices have not yet caused Germans to question the overall project” as gains in income help to quell anger among the population, she said.

Germany is seeking to get as much as 60 percent of its power from renewables by 2035, up from a quarter now, helping to counter the decline in output from nuclear plants. Concerns that the shift would threaten security of supply peaked when Merkel shuttered the eight oldest reactors following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and have since dissipated, according to Koecher.

The atomic-energy industry has tried to communicate to the population that reactors can help drive down carbon emissions and benefit the environment, Koecher said. “The German population never accepted that.”

--Editors: Amanda Jordan, Alex Devine