Germany
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian alliance and the Social Democrats led by Martin Schulz, together with the new cabinet were sworn in on Wednesday, with the new energy and environment ministers in the 'grand coalition' facing key energy challenges.

Key elements of the energy and climate policies were agreed upon in the January 12 framework agreement, which avoided setting closure dates for coal plants.

The government will set-up a special commission for the gradual phase-out of coal with a climate-change action plan to be agreed by end-2018, which will set binding targets for 2030 applicable for all sectors including transport, heating and agriculture to cut carbon emissions.

Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will take over the economy and energy ministry with her key ally and former environment minister Peter Altermaier in charge of the ministry.

The Social Democrats will remain in charge of the environment ministry with Svenja Schulze as new minister also in charge of nuclear safety.

Merkel's Bavarian partner CSU remains in charge of transport, naming Andreas Scheuer as new minister also facing major policy issues including the question of diesel driving bans in cities.

Attendees and speakers at this week’s Energy Storage Europe conference in Dusseldorf were confident, that Germany’s new coalition government will be good for the environment and for renewable energy.

Politician Thorsten Herdan, attended the event to view latest enablers for energy storage, renewables integration and therefore de-carbonisation. He believes the Ministry would remain committed to the Energiewende and is likely to raise spending on research.