Alternative to renewables levy exemptions? / Jury still out on innogy
The umbrella organisation German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) has called for a “correction” of privileges regarding the renewables surcharge (EEG-Umlage) for energy-intensive industries, writes Klaus Stratmann in Handelsblatt. Instead of subsidising large-scale energy consumers through the surcharge paid by other consumers, BEE-director Hermann Falk recommends that energy-intensive industries receive grants “directly from the federal budget”. Bulk consumers are often largely exempt from the surcharge of currently 6.35 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh) to ensure their competitiveness – in 2016, 2100 companies have saved a total of five billion euros under this scheme. “If more and more companies elude the politically desired conversion of our power supply, other consumers must not be held accountable," Falk said.
Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.
For more information on industry privileges see the CLEW-factsheet Industrial power prices and the Energiewende.
The much-lauded stock market launch of RWE’s green subsidiary innogy could still become a disappointment for investors despite the strong book-building that values the company at 20 billion euros, Frank Stocker and Daniel Wetzel write in Die Welt. With an issue price of at least 36 euros, innogy became practically overnight the energy group with the highest market value. “History shows that many investors might regret their decision," Stocker and Wetzel warn. With about 75 percent of the shares remaining with RWE, innogy’s launch counts as an equity carve-out from the parent company. According to Stocker and Wetzel, a study of 129 similar launches over the past 25 years has shown that, on average, carve-outs perform 9.5 percent worse than the benchmark. However, due to its contractually guaranteed operational independence from RWE, innogy could still become a success, the authors write.
Read the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Several German start-ups prepare to revolutionise the national energy market, writes Helmut Bünder in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We’ll get rid of established suppliers” for instance is the slogan of Sonnen GmbH, a high-tech company from the German Alps that digitally connects their clients’ photovoltaic systems and energy storage batteries to redirect excess energy to where it is needed. Around 3000 households already are a part of this network, Bünder writes. Bundling their batteries “replaces common power plants, saves CO2-emissions and, by decentralisation, reduces grid expansion costs”, the article quotes Sonnen’s marketing director Philipp Schröder as saying.
Read more on decentralisation and fluctuation of Germany’s power grids in the CLEW-Dossier Connecting up the Energiewende.
Apart from questions about political regulation and technological challenges, Germany’s energy transition is a phenomenon that changes the social conditions in many regions across the country, write Tom Morton and Katja Müller in scientific journal Energy Policy. The Eastern German region of Lusatia, known for its tradition of brown coal mining, is a case in point for this social aspect of the Energiewende, the authors argue. Here, villagers are at the same time threatened by the expansion of open pit mining by the destruction of their homes but also regard it as an industry that defines their local culture and legacy. According to Morton and Müller, quarrels over the future of coal in Lusatia serve as “key cultural ‘scripts’ or narratives” that help to understand how an energy transition can succeed on the local level.
Read an abstract of the article in English here.
For more information on local conditions regarding the Energiewende see the CLEW-Factsheet on German federalism: In 16 states of mind over the Energiewende.
A German exit from coal-fired power generation “must really happen very, very fast – maybe by 2025, 2030” if the country wants to be a pioneer in international climate protection, Niklas Höhne of think tank NewClimate Institute said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk. A concrete plan and date for such an exit would have to be set now, he said.
Read the interview in German here.