26 Apr 2017, 00:00
Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann

Cabinet adopts tenant power law / Coal exit without climate targets?

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs (BMWi) / BDEW

The federal cabinet’s approval of a bill for supporting tenant electricity models in Germany will “make tenants directly participate at energy transition”, economy minister Brigitte Zypries said in a press release by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs (BMWi). Owners of private houses so far were mostly able to benefit from pv installations on their roofs, but tenants now could also use this sort of locally produced power at favourable rates if their landlords put up pv installations on their building, Zypries explained. The government was going to introduce a “tenant electricity premium” of up to 3.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), which would “speed up electricity generation from solar energy”, Zypries said.  

Stefan Kapferer, head of German utility association BDEW, said tenant electricity in general was a “reasonable component” for increasing the acceptance of energy transition. The BMWi’s bill, however, was going to “relieve some privileged households from grid fees while at the same time others have to pay more”. The majority of German tenants was not going to benefit from the law, Kapferer said.

Find the BMWi’s press release in German here and the BDEW’s press release in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The people’s Energiewende for more information.

Most German tenants would like to receive their electricity from local sources, renewable energy provider LichtBlick said in a press release. According to LichtBlick’s survey conducted by pollster YouGov, 66 percent of tenants can see themselves using locally produced power while only one in six would not use so-called “tenant electricity” schemes. However, according to the survey there are no pv installations or district heating stations available in 82 percent of rented flats in Germany. These are necessary to produce green power locally.

Read the press release in German here.

Clean Energy Wire

Germany would have to discontinue coal-fired power production even without committing itself to climate protection goals, Oliver Krischer, vice-chairman of the Green Party’s parliamentary group, said during a speech on his party’s energy policy ambitions after the general elections. “I don’t see any competitiveness for coal anymore,” Krischer said, adding that “the end of the age of coal has come regardless of climate protection”. A “coal exit” – even by a different name - would therefore be an issue that any future government in Germany would have to face. “It’s doable within in 20 years,” Krischer added. He explained that it was not relevant in what year the last coal plant was shut down but rather to quickly decommission the oldest and dirtiest plants and cut overcapacities in the German power market.

For background, see the CLEW dossier Vote2017 – German elections and the Energiewende and the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

The energy costs for energy intensive industries in Germany in December 2016 have reached the lowest level in seven years, the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) said in a press release. The energy cost index in late 2016, which measures energy cost per unit, was more than 11 percent lower than one year before, according to data compiled by Öko-Institute together with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the European Climate Foundation. According to the press release, energy costs accounted for 1.6 percent of the entire industrial production’s value last December, whereas this figure stood at 2.3 percent in 2010. Reasons for the lower financial burden are the greater share of oil and gas in primary energy consumption and the exemptions from taxes, levies and surcharges on power consumption these sectors enjoy, the press release said.

Find the press release in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry.

Handelsblatt Online

German car part supplier Continental increasingly bets on electric engines as an emerging business, Stefan Menzel writes on Handelsblatt Online. “The shift to the e-car will come, it can’t be stopped anymore,” Menzel writes, saying Continental will expand its investments into e-mobility development by about 300 million euros until 2021. Continental hoped to generate a revenue of one billion euros with electric engines by that year, Menzel explains. Continental’s CEO Elmar Degenhart said combustion engines “will continue to play an important role for the next 15 years”, but their relative importance was going to fall every year, Menzel writes.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers for background.

The Green Party has put out a “Clean Car Roadmap” with detailed proposals aimed at speeding up the move towards a low-carbon transport sector. The goal remained to end production of combustion engine cars by 2030. The paper urges a number of immediate steps such as:

  • independent controls of real emissions
  • a shift to base taxation on carbon emissions
  • more ambitious emission goals for carmakers
  • more effective support programmes for a move to e-cars
  • more support for the shift of whole car fleets, starting with the government’s car fleet
  • cutting subsidies for diesel
  • training programmes for employees in the car sector
  • more research and development support for small and medium-sized companies

Find the paper (in German) here and read the CLEW dossiers about the election campaigns and other parties’ programmes and the challenges for German carmakers for background.


The Energiewende and digitalisation will increase mergers and acquisitions in the utility sector because they break down boundaries between markets and put traditional business models in doubt, consultancy PwC said in a press release. The consultancy is now tracking M&A activity in its transaction monitor for Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Find the PwC transaction monitor in German here and background on the challenges utilities face in a CLEW dossier and a factsheet on municipal utilities.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Top managers in German banks, insurers and saving banks have so far failed to grasp the international trend to take climate risks into account and adjust their business models accordingly, Henry Schäfer, professor for business administration and finance at Stuttgart University, writes in an op-ed for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Governments across the globe are pushing the sector to look into carbon exposure in order to avoid carbon-intensive investments turning into stranded assets if regulators tighten the reigns on harmful emissions. “The climate agreement and the sustainable development goals develop in passing into a Trojan horse: Green finance as the catalyst for the competitiveness and ability to innovate in the financial sector,” Schäfer argues.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change for more information.

Fraunhofer IWES

Researchers at Fraunhofer IWES have created a new wind index for Germany’s North Sea coast that shows the deviation of wind energy output from the long-term average, the institute announced at the Hannover Messe, Germany’s largest industry trade fair. The index, called FROENIX, will help wind farm operators recognize the deviations from the expected output precisely, identify and fix reasons for any output drop, and therefore increase profitability, the institute said.

Find the IWES press release here.

See the CLEW article Operators to build offshore wind farms without support payments for more information.

Greenpeace Energy

Insurance protection for nuclear power plants in Germany’s neighbouring countries is insufficient for covering the costs of a major nuclear disaster, environmental organisation Greenpeace Energy has said in a press release. “Under prevailing legal norms, victims would have to shoulder the majority of costs themselves,” Greenpeace Energy said. Costs for mitigating the consequences of a nuclear disaster would reach up to 430 billion euros, while the compulsory cover in most European countries was capped somewhere between 380 million and one billion euros, according to a study commissioned by Greenpeace Energy.

Find the press release in German here and the study by Green Budget Germany in German here

Find background in the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.

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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