19 Jun 2018, 13:50
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Climate protection is no luxury - Merkel / Power cable to Sweden

Clean Energy Wire

While ambitious climate policy is an opportunity for growth and prosperity, the economic costs of inaction “can hardly be quantified, but they are enormous”, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 9th Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. “Climate protection is not a luxury,” she said. Rather, it is a question of ecologic necessity and economic rationality, and an investment in peace and stability. Germany will make the security aspects of climate change a priority for its two-year term as non-permanent member in the United Nations Security Council, Merkel said. Germany itself has “its hands full” to reach 2030 climate targets, said Merkel. The country has to decide how to move forward on lignite, but also in other sectors. “Our big problem child is transport,” she said. Merkel said that Germany’s climate policy needs to become “more binding”. To this end, her grand coalition government had tasked environment minister Svenja Schulze with drafting a climate protection law.

For background, read the article Merkel calls for honouring Paris deal as German climate action falters.

Note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.


A 300-kilometre power cable under the Baltic Sea will transport excess German wind power to Swedish hydropower plants, according to plans by German grid operator 50Hertz and Swedish company Svenska kraftnät, Andre Wornowski reports for regional newspaper Ostsee-Zeitung. Work on the 650-million euro project, Hansa Powerbridge, is scheduled to begin in 2023. “The grids are overloaded because we produce more renewable power than is needed locally,” 50Hertz told the newspaper.
Another of Germany’s four major grid operators, TenneT, is currently building a 620-kilometre cable called Nordlink that will connect the German grid to Norwegian hydropower plants.

Read the article in German here.

Find background in the factsheet German offshore wind power – output, business and perspectives and the dossier Energiewende hinges on unblocking the power grid.


The Chinese state enterprise SGCC has already signed a contract to buy a 20-percent share of grid operator 50Hertz, but the German government is trying to reverse the deal – which it says concerns “critical infrastructure” – before it takes effect, Thomas Sigmund and Klaus Stratmann report for Handelsblatt. Belgian grid operator Elia, which owns the majority of 50Hertz’s shares, could use its right of pre-emption and then pass on the minority share to German state-owned bank KfW, the authors say, adding that the German Economy and Energy Ministry and 50Hertz both declined to comment. SGCC tried to acquire a 20-percent share in 50Hertz earlier this year, but then majority-owner Elia used its pre-emption right to stop the deal.

Read the article in German here (paywall).


The EU needs much higher 2030 renewable energy and energy efficiency targets than are currently on the table, Radostina Primova and Rebecca Bertram from Green political foundation Heinrich Böll-Stiftung said in an interview with EURACTIV. In negotiations over the bloc’s 2030 climate and energy goals, the EU agreed to an overall, binding renewables target of 32 percent – less than the 45 percent target Primova and Bertram say are needed to meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement. The 2030 energy efficiency target has not yet been determined, but the goal should be at least 40 percent, they add. They contend that the bloc could achieve a 100-percent renewable energy system by 2050, by making use of currently available storage and demand response technologies.

Read the interview in English here.

For background, read the article Clear steps must underpin EU renewables goal – German energy minister.

Die Welt

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have begun an internal conflict over immigration policy that points at deeper rifts between Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU, Ulf Poschardt writes in Die Welt. Merkel has “developed a callousness that lets her shrug off any criticism,” Poschardt says. “The energy transition, the failed Jamaica coalition talks and the refugee policies,” as well as the parties’ poor election result have been “consigned to silence by the Chancellery.” Poschardt says this is why the CSU has led the latest argument “so fiercely and axiomatically,” as it tries to put Merkel on the spot.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

Green Party energy expert Ingrid Nestle says renewable power plants are not responsible for record grid management costs, which according to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) amounted to 1.4 billion euros in 2017. “I warn against making renewables a scapegoat for the moderate increase in prices,” Nestle said in a press release. “It’s important to call out the true reason here: There are no incentives to use power before a grid bottleneck and no incentives to use grids more efficiently.” Nestle added that “inflexible coal and nuclear power” clogged grids. “Just by shutting down nuclear plants in the north, redispatch (capacity management) costs could be reduced substantially.”

Find background in the dossier Energiewende hinges on unblocking the power grid.

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