23 Jun 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

"CO2 price favours France" / Three-country nuclear protest

Die Welt / Pöyry Management Consulting

French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to introduce a high price on CO₂ emissions in the European Union would give France an “enormous competitive edge” over Germany, as his country’s energy supply is based mostly on emission-free nuclear and hydro power, according to Pöyry Management Consulting, Daniel Wetzel reports in Die Welt. A price of 30 euros per tonne CO₂ – reported by news agency Bloomberg – would see Europe reach its CO₂-reduction goals faster, but increase power prices in Germany by about 40 percent. This would put export-oriented, energy-intensive industry at a disadvantage, the consultancy says in a press release.

Read the article in German here and find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Experts call for CO2 price to retain Energiewende’s credibility and the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry.

Tageszeitung (taz)

With a human chain stretching over three countries, activists in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are to protest against the incident-prone Belgian nuclear plants Tihange and Doel, Tobias Müller writes in Tageszeitung (taz). The organisers of the international human chain expect around 60,000 people to take part in the campaign next Sunday. “There have been many protests against Tihange in the region in recent years. But never something of this magnitude,” Müller writes.

Read the article in German here.

For background on Germany’s nuclear exit, see the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany‘s nuclear phase-out.

Clean Energy Wire

The chief of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chancellery, Peter Altmaier, has said that while Germany is intent on meeting its 2020 emissions-reduction goals, it was not clear it would succeed. “We don’t know if we’ll make it,” Altmaier said at the debate forum“Sustainability and climate protection: What roadmap do the parties have?”, organised by NGOs Climate-Alliance Germany, VENRO and Deutscher Naturschutzring in Berlin. Germany’s 2020 goal is to cut emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels. But since 2009, when emissions were extraordinarily low due to the financial crisis’s effect on the economy, Germany’s CO2 balance has remained largely stagnant. “We’ve had enormous economic growth during this period while keeping emissions stable,” Altmaier said. He stressed that international climate diplomacy had come to a crucial point, describing the G20 consensus on curbing CO2 levels as “very fragile”. He warned that the Paris Agreement had to be kept at all costs, particularly after the Trump administration’s announcement to pull the US out of the international deal. Altmaier rebuffed US calls to renegotiate the accord, saying “we’ve already negotiated for 10 years.”

For background, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change and the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.

Clean Energy Wire

The Social Democrats’ (SPD) deputy chair Ralf Stegner has said that as far as he is concerned, the German coal exit is not a question of “if” but “how.” At the debate forum“Sustainability and climate protection: What roadmap do the parties have?”, organised by NGOs Climate-Alliance Germany, VENRO and Deutscher Naturschutzring in Berlin, Stegner said Germany had to implement the necessary measures to “make sure we meet our climate goals”. Stegner did not say by when he saw an end to coal-fired power production feasible. However, he stressed that his native northern German region of Schlewsig-Holstein, with its large wind power industry, showed that “renewables can be the foundation of structural economic change.”

See the CLEW factsheets When will Germany finally ditch coal? and German onshore wind power - output, business and perspectives for background.

Dow Jones Newswires

German utility E.ON’ chief operating officer for grids and renewable energies, Leonhard Birnbaum, demands a change to the country’s onshore wind power auctions to ensure that professional wind power project developers cannot benefit from advantages given to citizens’ energy projects, Dow Jones Newswires reports. In Germany’s first wind power auction in May, citizens’ initiatives appeared to secure the lion’s share of projects, but evidence now suggests many of these bids “in reality were made by professional project developers,” the article says. Birnbaum seconded a call by turbine manufacturer Enercon for all bidders, regardless of their commercial status, to be required to submit the so-called immission law license (BImschG) to take part in auctions.

See the CLEW article Citizens’ energy projects dominate first onshore wind power auction and the CLEW factsheet From survey to harvest: How to build a wind farm in Germany for more information.

Der Tagesspiegel Online

Conflict of interests between wind power production and wildlife protection is “marginal if we look at the alternatives,” the head of the German Green Party’s parliamentary group, Anton Hofreiter, says in an opinion piece for Der Tagesspiegel Online. “Nuclear- or coal-fired power production will only make matters worse,” Hofreiter argues, saying the potential environmental harm from these technologies is of far greater concern than that of wind power. Hofreiter says it’s necessary to counter “all attempts to inflate and exploit a conflict in order to stall the energy transition.” While it’s necessary to ensure wind farms enjoy local acceptance and meet ecological standards, “fossil energies are the greatest global threat to the environment.”

Find the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet Fighting windmills: When growth hits resistance.

Federal Environment Ministry

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks said a complete shift of the country’s energy supply to renewable sources can be done with minimal environmental impact. In an environment ministry (BMUB) press release, Hendricks presented five guidelines meant to ensure the transition’s compatibility with environmental protection. They include greater energy efficiency and expanding eco-friendly technology in residential areas, such as rooftop solar installations or heat pumps. “We cannot conserve biodiversity without a worldwide energy transition,” Hendricks said. She added that while sun and wind “are available unlimitedly, the available space to construct installations remains limited.”

See the press release in German here and the ministry’s guidelines in German here.   

Welt Online

Peter Mosch, head of the workers’ council of German carmaker Audi, has criticised a management decision to locate production of the company’s second electric car abroad, Philipp Vetter reports on Welt Online. “If the company management shows no perspectives for filled production lines in Germany, but only for factories abroad, resentment is understandable and justified,” Mosch said. The VW-subsidiary Audi plans to build its second e-car in a factory in Belgium, where it also assembles its first electric model, an e-SUV slated for market introduction in 2018. Mosch said “high volumes of cars with alternative engines” should also be built in Germany, Vetter reports.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet The Energiewende and German carmakers for more information.

dpa / Welt Online

After two years of construction and trial phases, German utility EnBW’s subsidiary TransnetBW is beginning operation of its central control room, dpa reports in an article carried by Welt Online. The grid operator intends to manage the Baden-Wuerttemberg’s grid, which has come under strain due to the country's increased reliance on renewable energy sources. “Since the number of power sources increases significantly, intelligent allocation with modern technology becomes more and more important,” the article says, calling the facility a “central element of the energy transition.”

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition for background.

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