Although the election loss sealed Röttgen´s fate, the Chancellor knows that criticism of the energy transition policy - which according to the wellknown industrialist and environmentalist Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt is destroying the country´s prosperity - is growing.
Merkel said her energy policy, which envisages a radical increase in the use of renewable energy sources in the coming decades, faced major challenges and that a "fresh start" with a new minister would help to master them.
Merkel's energy plans have made little progress since she announced an early phaseout of nuclear power in March 2011, in a major U-turn that followed the Fukushima nuclear accident. Key questions remain unresolved, such as the expansion of the national power grid and the construction of new gas-fired power plants.
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It is unlikely that Röttgen´s successor will be able to do very much, unless the entire Energiewende is dumped. But that is a decision Angela Merkel probably does not have the courage to make. The CDU is most likely going to lose the next parliamentary election, but the likely winners - the social democrats and the greens - will make the German energy future even worse. So be prepared for unstable times in the still rather succesful economic powerhouse of Europe.