Change in wind auction rules takes effect / Chemical industry worries
Federal Grid Agency (BNetzA)
Germany’s grid agency (BNetzA) has launched the first 2018 onshore wind and solar tenders. In a change to previous auctions, all onshore wind projects now need to have a planning permission to place a bid, the agency said in a press release. Citizen cooperatives had been exempt from this requirement, which had triggered accusations of unfair competition. Bids are due by 1 February 2018 and must not exceed 6.3 cents per kilowatt-hour in the onshore wind auction and 8.84 ct/kWh in the solar auction.
Read the press release in German here.
Find plenty of background in the factsheet High hopes and concerns over onshore wind power auctions.
German Chemical Industry Association
The chemical industry has had “a good year without limitations” in 2017 but says that further increases in energy prices continue to pose a risk for Germany’s third largest industry branch, the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) says in a press release. The industry has seen “major sales growth” of five percent, “significant production increases”, the highest employment level in over a decade and expectations of “further growth” in 2018. But the VCI warns that the difficult formation of a new government coalition jeopardises the industry’s business prospects and high energy prices put supply security at risk. “Therefore, the VCI opposes a national CO2 tax or an overly hasty end of coal-based electricity,” the press release says.
Read the press release in English here.
See the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry and the CLEW factsheet What business thinks of the energy transition for background.
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)
A commitment to green public procurement could lower Germany’s carbon footprint and contribute to achieving the country’s 2020 climate targets, according to a paper by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). “Given the large volumes of government purchases [of more than 500 billion euros per year], green public procurement offers a significant potential for steering public money into climate-friendly products and services and reducing emissions,” write study authors Olga Chiappinelli and Vera Zipperer. But this would require a clear political mandate, adequate local funding, and capacity building.
Find the paper in English here.
An EU parliament committee has voted in favour of a mandatory public housing modernisation quota to improve energy efficiency, but such a move would hurt Germany’s poor, writes Michael Fabricius in a commentary in Die Welt. Germany’s strict regulations mean modernisations will be particularly expensive in that country, while the affected housing is mainly used by low-income groups. “Strasbourg’s climate protection ambitions would hit households that have little money left for living,” writes Fabricius. “Climate protection and social responsibility are increasingly at odds when it comes to building modernisations.”
Read the commentary in German here.
Find plenty of background in the dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.
The Energiewende, Germany’s energy transition, has so far seen too much political planning and not enough free market forces, making coal-fired power production one of the project’s “winners” besides renewable energy sources, gas lobbyist Timm Kehler says in an interview with Sächsische Zeitung. Kehler, head of lobby organisation Zukunft Erdgas e.V., says “the Energiewende is doable” but needs to let open competition decide which technologies will prevail. Failing to do so up until now is part of the reason that “Germany will miss its 2020 climate targets”, Kehler says. He argues that gas-fired power production will play a key role in reducing the economy’s carbon emissions, and that technologies such as power-to-gas from renewable sources for storage or cars running on natural gas could contribute substantially to reducing CO2 emissions in a cost-efficient way.
There is a consensus in Germany to gradually shift the energy supply to renewable sources and to reduce primary energy consumption - but the central question of energy storage is often bypassed, says Nicolaus Römer, head of hydro power company Schluchseewerk AG, in a commentary for business website Springer Professional. While there are efforts to store wind power produced in northern Germany in Norwegian hydro power plants, similar solutions for Germany’s industrialised south are lacking, Römer argues. “Alpine hydro power offers huge storage capacities and a huge installed capacity,” he says, adding that this vast potential close to southern industry centres is often overlooked. The Energiewende is a challenge “that we can only overcome with all existing technologies”, Römer argues.
Read the commentary in German here.
Japan and Germany, as two of the world’s most technologically advanced countries, need to overcome the trauma brought about by the Fukushima nuclear disaster and focus on a vigorous decarbonisation of their economies, Peter Hennicke, of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council, says in an interview in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Both countries still adhere to a policy in which they need conventional power sources to ensure their energy security. A consistent expansion of a renewable and decentralised energy system, as well as a less carbon-intensive transport sector, are possible if both countries share their expertise and capabilities, he argues.
Read the interview in German here.
See the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out for more information.