26 Oct 2015, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Ellen Thalman

A brown coal standby reserve to cut CO2

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

“Gabriel: Brown coal agreement is important contribution to reaching climate targets”

Coal power plant operators will gradually transfer 2.7 gigawatts (GW) of brown-coal capacity into an emergency standby reserve from 2016, the energy ministry and utilities RWE, Vattenfall and Mibrag agreed. The lignite plants will be operated as a reserve or “last resort” to secure a power supply for four years before shutting down for good, a ministry press release said. The reserve will cost around 230 million euros annually for seven years - 1.61 billion euros in total. Grid fees for consumers will increase by 0.05 cent per kilowatt-hour.
The plan will save 11-to-12.5 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020 – an emissions cut necessary for Germany to achieve its national 2020 climate target. The saving is part of the 22 million tonnes it needs to cut to meet the target. The rest will come from energy efficiency measures. Emission reductions will be evaluated in 2018. If they are not sufficient, power station operators will have to suggest further measures, the ministry said.

Read the ministry press release in German here.

Read a Bloomberg article in English here.

Find a CLEW article about how the coal deal was reached here.


Rheinische Post

“Municipal utilities want to fight coal deal”

The German economics ministry consulted with the EU Commission on its plans to pay coal power plant operators for keeping plants in reserve - but large utilities like RWE may still receive unfair support, according to the Rheinische Post. The claim was made because such assistance is only allowed if it is open to other countries and technologies. Many local utilities do not see why brown coal should get billions of euros, even though other utilities are more advanced in their energy-transition technology, according to the article. The municipal utility group Trianel, in Aachen, together with utilities in Munich are considering taking action against the plans. The battle could go to the European Court of Justice, the newspaper reports.

Read the article in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Welfare from the minister”

German economics and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel is having to backtrack on his promise that coal power plant operators would not be getting “Hartz IV”, as Germany’s welfare plan for the long-term unemployed is called, writes Judith Lembke in a commentary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Gabriel had previously indicated he would not pay for plants that were not actually operating, she says. But now that the energy companies are getting 1.6 billion euros over the next seven years to keep their plants on emergency standby, this is “clearly more than nothing”, she writes.

Read the commentary in German here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Coal-exit in their heads”

When the time comes to shut down Germany’s emergency coal reserve once and for all, much will depend on decisions taken at the Paris Climate Summit in December, writes Cerstin Gammelin in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. If countries are willing to set specific targets for cutting emissions, this will send a signal to investors that they should invest in alternatives to coal, oil and gas, she says. Then, in four years when brown-coal plants are scheduled for shut-down, the stage will have been set for ecologically clean and efficient power plants to take their place, writes Gammelin. At that point, it will not make sense to invest in brown coal.

Read the commentary in German in the Süddeutsche Zeitung here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/dpa

“RWE says it will cut jobs”

German utility RWE said on Sunday that it will cut between 800 and 1,000 jobs over the long term, according to a dpa report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The announcement came after the decision to first mothball, and then shut down, 2.7 gigawatts-worth of coal-fired power generation in Germany, the article says.

Read the article in German here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“Setback for green power”

Hopes that buying green power directly from the source could increase the acceptance of the energy transition among consumers have been thwarted by Energy and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel. Network operators currently sell all green power that is fed into the grid at the electricity exchange, mixing it together with other power sources. The Green party and green energy suppliers had suggested a “green power market model” that would enable operators of renewable power stations to deliver power directly to consumers or municipal utilities. But ministry experts said that such a direct marketing model would likely infringe EU law and lead to extra costs without giving relevant energy economic benefits.



Spiegel Online

“World community agrees on draft for climate treaty”

UN delegations agreed at a meeting in Bonn on a draft paper that will be the basis of climate treaty negotiations in Paris in December - but 1,500 controversial issues in the text and extremely different positions of the various parties show that issues are far from resolved, Axel Bojanowski writes on Spiegel Online. The EU and industrialised nations want to see climate action from all countries according to their economic abilities and emissions, while others want to keep the separation of industrialised and developing nations like it was 20 years ago, Bojanowski says.

Read the article 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.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee