France and Germany should work together on some challenges on the way to a clean energy future - despite differences in the two countries’ energy mixes, write German think tanks Agora Energiewende, Agora Verkehrswende* and French Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in a joint paper, seen by Clean Energy Wire. They call for a joint strategic vision on the energy transition, a joint initiative on carbon pricing, and the coordinated development of renewable energies, among other things. Both countries’ power systems are largely rooted in baseload power plants, their transport systems rely heavily on oil, decisions taken in one country “invariably have repercussions for the other”, their position in the centre of Europe would make them a driving force for energy transitions all across the continent, and a reform of EU institutions to better address climate change challenges depends on France and Germany as the “driving motors of European integration”, write the authors.
Institute for Applied Ecology / DIW / ECF
The energy cost burdens on the German industry reached a new multi-year low in March 2017, despite a rising renewables surcharge, according to an analysis by Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut), German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the European Climate Foundation (ECF).* The energy costs index, which represents the costs in relation to the industry’s gross production value, was at its lowest since the start of the analysis in 2010. This was due to sinking energy costs and rising industrial production, and costs fell most for energy-intensive industries, writes Öko-Institut in a press release.
Read the press release in German here.
*The Clean Energy Wire is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Germany’s federal elections in September will also be a decision “on the direction of the country’s energy policy” and a lot depends on which parties form a government coalition, Arne Jungjohann writes on website China Dialogue. With near-term [climate and energy] targets likely to be missed, the challenge ahead is to meet the country’s mid-term targets, Jungjohann says. The next government had to make sure Germany could “increase its grid flexibility and back-up capacity”, provide for an enhanced coupling of power generation, heating and transport, manage the phase-out of coal power and devise new ways to finance renewables’ expansion, he writes.
Read the article in English here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier Vote2017 – German elections and the Energiewende.
The new government coalition of CDU, Greens and FDP in Germany’s northern wind-power state Schleswig-Holstein means many wind power projects will need re-examining, Schleswig-Holsteinische Landeszeitung reports. The federal state’s interior ministry was currently evaluating 6,000 individual requests over new rules for wind power expansion made across the state dubbed “the cradle of the Energiewende”. The parties say in their coalition agreement that construction criteria would be reviewed “to ensure the highest possible local acceptance”. The parties also agreed to increase the minimum distance of new turbines from residential areas to five times the turbine’s height.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet From survey to harvest: How to build a wind farm in Germany for more information.
Ernst & Young
Decentralised renewable energy sources increase the importance of local distribution grids for making Germany’s energy transition work, a new study on municipal utilities by consulting agency Ernst & Young (EY) says. Distribution grid operators become “enablers of the Energiewende” by ensuring a decentralised, secure and cost-efficient integration of new energy sources in the power system, the authors write. The digitalisation of their activities, aided by the roll-out of so-called smart meters, was the most important tool for the country’s municipalities.
Read the study in German here.
See the CLEW dossiers Utilities and the energy transition and Small but powerful – Germany’s municipal utilities for background.
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Six of the top ten industrial polluters regarding CO₂ emissions in the EU are German lignite-fired power plants, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing. Bełchatów in Poland was responsible for the highest amounts of CO₂. The EEA analysed emissions data from large industrial facilities including power plants, petrochemical refineries and metal processing plants in the EU.
For background read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?
Climate risks have to be included in company reports, writes Peter Wolff, head of department World Economy and Development Financing at the German Development Institute (DIE), in a guest article in Frankfurter Rundschau. The move was demanded by recommendations of the industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which were mentioned in the final G20 Hamburg summit documents.
Read the guest article in German here.
Peter Terium, CEO of German renewable energies company innogy, started a pro-EU initiative, ‘We4Europe’, and calls for unified energy policy in an interview with Handelsblatt. “Europe is the foundation on which we build our business” and it was in innogy’s interest to preserve it. Every government having its own energy policy was problematic, said Terium. “Especially in energy policy, I’d be glad if it were uniform in Europe,” he said. Companies like Lufthansa, BMW, Thyssen-Krupp and Telekom joined the initiative.
Read the full interview (behind paywall) in German here.
Three of the remaining eight German nuclear power stations are currently offline, writes renewable energy industry institute IWR in an article on IWR Online. Gundremmingen C and Isar 2 were offline for about a month in the summer for routine inspections, while Brokdorf has been off the grid since February, when unusually thick oxide layers were found on fuel elements.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.