21 Nov 2017, 00:00
Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann

Big German power producers lose market share / No climate leadership?

Federal Grid Agency / Federal Cartel Authority

Germany’s biggest power producers continue to lose market share, says a new monitoring report published by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) and the Federal Cartel Office (BKartA). "Market concentration among conventional electricity suppliers was again noticeably lower”, BKartA President Andreas Mundt says. The influence of Germany’s largest energy producers is even smaller in renewable energy production, which today accounts for about 104 gigawatt (GW) out of a total of 212GW installed capacity, the report says. While renewables continued to grow in importance, gas-fired power plants also generated significantly more electricity in 2016. Since 2016 was a relatively windless year, “the amount of electricity produced from natural gas increased again for the first time in several years – by around 37 percent”, BNetzA head Jochen Homann said.

Read a press release on the report in English here.

See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition for background.

USA Today

German Chancellor Angela Merkel needs to put “her own house in order” on climate policy because the world needs her leadership on the issue since US President Donald Trump decided to take the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate, the editorial board of USA Today writes in an opinion piece. “If the planet's future rests with the peer pressure system embraced in Paris, it's important that the Germans resolve their political fissures in a way that allows them to reclaim their position as climate change leaders”, the board writes. In a response, Germany’s Ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, argues that his country was taking on the responsibility, saying that most political forces agreed on a phase-out of coal power in the medium term. “For Germany’s manufacturers, the digital and the energy transformation are two sides of the same coin: Eventually, coal will go the way of the typewriter”, he writes.

Find the USA Today editorial here, and the response of Ambassador Wittig here.

See the CLEW article Germany’s energy use and emissions likely to rise yet again in 2017 and the CLEW dossier COP23 – All eyes on Germany for background.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The FDP’s decision to let talks for a ‘Jamaica coalition’ government collapse after four weeks spared Germany a “government rife with contradictions”, Heike Göbel writes in a commentary for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “No labour market flexibility, no reform of the Renewable Energy Act, no limit lines for the euro” – if this has been the last offer by the pro-business FDP’s potential coalition partners, the environmentalist Green Party and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance, “then the Free Democrats merit gratitude for not letting the yellow-green-black [the parties’ colours] experiment take over power”, Göbel says. A compromise, however shaky, “must not be the measure of all things”, she argues. According to Göbel, the FDP was the only party “to touch a taboo” by calling Germany’s 2020 climate targets into question, which had been based on  divergent assumptions. “With a Jamaica coalition, the energy transition would have become more expensive and more painful for some industries, rather than geared towards free market forces," she argues.

Read the commentary in German here.

See the CLEW article German coalition talks collapse despite progress on climate and energy for background.

Stuttgarter Nachrichten

The breakdown of Germany’s ‘Jamaica coalition’ talks after the pro-business FDP dropped out after four weeks of negotiations has alarmed representatives of the country’s leading industries, Roland Pichler and Kerstin Ruchay write in the Suttgarter Nachrichten. The failure of the coalition talks was “absolutely unsatisfactory”, Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), says. Eric Schweitzer, head of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), says the early conclusion of the talks was “sobering” for the German industry, adding that he had hoped a coalition of the FDP, the Green Party, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance could have “breached blockades” in certain policy fields, such as energy and digitalisation.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Germany reacts to collapse of coalition talks for more information.

Germany’s industrial heavyweight Siemens did not anticipate the rapid decline in renewable energy prices, particularly solar photovoltaic (PV) power, and consequently it had to implement significant layoffs in its conventional energy branch to compensate for this management failure, Nils-Viktor Sorge writes for “Around the globe, much fewer large-scale power plants are being built than what was presumed just a few years ago”, Sorge says. Meanwhile, the price of solar power has dropped by about 70 percent since 2009, meaning that conventional power plants simply cannot compete with this renewable source any longer in many parts of the world. “Industry experts are at a loss over the energy system’s future," Sorge says, adding that Siemens and other companies now put investment plans on hold and scrutinise future development projects to avoid any further stranded investments.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Auctions bring German solar power price to new record low for more information.

Erneuerbare Energien

The expansion of Germany’s solar power capacity must be accelerated if the country does not want to miss out on one of the global energy transition’s most important trends, the German solar power industry warns in the Erneuerbare Energien magazine. Germany will fail to meet its expansion target for solar PV for the fourth time in a row this year, which will turn the country “from vanguard to loser”, solar PV researcher Volker Quaschning says. An expansion not reaching 2 gigawatt (GW) was likely this year, but Quaschning says 15GW per year was desirable. “We need to stop saying the energy transition is too expensive”, Quaschning says, arguing that cost of climate change mitigation alone amounted to 75 billion euros annually. “Compared to that, a revamp of the energy system for the Energiewende is rather cheap”, he says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Auctions bring German solar power price to new record low for more information.

Federal Ministry for the Economy & Energy (BMWi)

The European Commission has approved the funding scheme for Germany’s plan to grant public support to landlords planning to install solar panels on the roof of apartment buildings, the Federal Ministry for the Economy & Energy (BMWi) says in a press release. The so-called tenant electricity law “will support the expansion of solar energy production on residential buildings”, Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries says. Electricity that is not used by the tenants of a building can be fed into the grid, allowing producers to receive remuneration for the power consumed by tenants and also for the share sold on the market, the BMWi says.

Read the press release in German here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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