The energy ministers of Germany and France in a joint declaration pledged to deepen their cooperation in renewables, and suggested several concrete projects and measures through to 2030 such as joint pilot projects in offshore wind or cross-border auctions.
“France and Germany agree to work on the requirements for the implementation of a test project for cross-border auctions in the field of renewables,” the declaration signed by German economics and energy minister Peter Altmaier and French solidarity transition minister Nicolas Hulot said after a meeting in Paris.
“Moreover, France and Germany will coordinate their offshore roll-out in the North Seas to improve investment security and predictability and will work to set out a common environmental assessment methodology.”
It wasn’t immediately clear how concrete the cooperation will be, however.
The declaration – sent to the media as a draft – in the section on “concrete projects and measures” stated in a somewhat vague fashion that the two neighbouring countries “believe that their coordination in the field of EU energy policy should be complemented by concrete projects and measures.”
The two ministers in the declaration also said that both countries welcome the fact that EDF’s 1.8GW Fessenheim nuclear power plant near the German border will be closed “as soon as possible,” which had been a long-standing German demand. Stakeholders from France and Germany will cooperate in a committee with the aim of promoting the economic transformation of the relevant territory, they added.
Regarding nuclear, the declaration also repeats France’s pledge to reduce nuclear in its electricity mix to 50%, along with an increase in the share of renewable energies and the closing of its last coal-fired power plants by the end of 2022.
The measures are planned to be part of the country’s national energy and climate plans (NECP) to be submitted under the EU’s new Energy Union governance, which can be seen as a step towards finally making French nuclear reduction plans more concrete.
Germany repeated its pledge to phase out nuclear by the end of 2022, but again was vague on a coal phase out.
In the joint declaration, the country pointed to the recent set-up of a so-called coal exit commission, “whose members represent the concerned regions and economic sectors as well as civil society and scientific community, with the aim to define a coal-phase-out date and to elaborate appropriate solutions to achieve this while avoiding structural disruption.”
Berlin had earlier said that the commission is supposed to come up with a coal exit plan by the end of this year.
That is also when both countries plan to present their draft NECPs.
France and Germany also indicated they want to find “common views” on tool for triggering economic incentives for the energy transition, such as carbon pricing, cooperate on CO2 emission reduction targets for vehicles, and said they will explore the option for a joint Franco-German chapter on energy issues in the NECP.