23 Mar 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

CO2 price should replace levy to fund renewables expansion - state sec

Clean Energy Wire

Germany will have to replace its current renewables (EEG) surcharge model with more market and taxation-based mechanisms, using a CO2 price as an indicator, Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary in the environment ministry, said at a conference by Green Budget Germany in Berlin. After this year’s parliamentary elections in September, the current cap on renewables expansion ought to be removed to ensure Germany continues on its path to an electrified economy running on green power, Flasbarth said. Raising the expansion targets for renewable energy sources was the only way to increase the share of electric power supply in transportation and heating without simultaneously increasing emissions, Flasbarth said, dismissing the debate about rising power prices as “hysterical". Flasbarth conceded that the current EEG surcharge made electricity, the basis of Germany’s future economy, more expensive. “That cannot make sense,” Flasbarth added. Renewables expansion had to be funded by targeted taxes, for which a CO2 price would serve “as the leading indicator” based on which other fees and taxes could be adjusted. At the same time, the carbon price would steer the decisions of market actors “in the right direction” in terms of emissions reduction, Flasbarth added.

For background read the CLEW article Debate on financing renewables in new ways gathers pace in Germany.

International Renewable Energy Agency

China, Germany, Denmark, Mexico and other countries plan to form an international Energy Transition Coalition this year “for accelerating the transition to a sustainable energy future”, writes International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in a press release. Government representatives had met on the sidelines of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue.

Find the press release in English here.

For background read the CLEW articles Quotes from the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue and Germany keeps pushing for G20 climate focus.

B20 / T20 / C20

Representatives of the G20 dialogue forums business (B20), civil society organisations (C20) and think tanks (T20) have together called on the Group of Twenty member countries to take the lead in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement. They demand a “drive towards effective and globally converging carbon pricing mechanisms”, a phase out of fossil fuel subsidies, and enabling “financial markets to deliver on sustainable development”.

Read the statement in English here.

For background read the CLEW article Germany keeps pushing for G20 climate focus.

Wintershall / Handelsblatt

Germany’s largest oil and gas company Wintershall has resisted the oil sector’s crisis and reported earnings before interest, taxes and special items of 517 million euros for 2016, writes Franz Hubik for Handelsblatt. Wintershall last year sold its 50 percent share in gas trade and storage business Wingas to Russia’s Gazprom. It now concentrates on exploration and gas transport, which is more profitable, writes Hubik.

Read the press release in English here and the Handelsblatt article in German here.

tageszeitung (taz)

Oskar Lafontaine, a prominent German politician and Left Party leader in the small German state Saarland, frequently makes his opposition towards rapid expansion of wind power a campaign topic for this week’s state elections, writes Christoph Schmidt-Lunau in tageszeitung (taz). “As long as there is no storage, as long as there is no grid to cope with the electricity, it is technical nonsense that causes devastation in forest and landscape,” said Lafontaine in a TV campaign debate.

Find the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW article Energy policy to play "no role" in Saarland state elections and the CLEW factsheet Facts on the German state elections in Saarland.

EUWID Neue Energie

Battery storage prices will not keep dropping at the same fast speed as in the last few years because further technological leaps could not be expected, Prof Uwe Sauer, of RWTH Aachen University, told renewables magazine EUWID Neue Energie. From a scientific point of view, there was no way around needing one lithium atom for each electron and falling prices could only be expected by increasing the batteries’ energy density, according to Sauer.

Find the issue of EUWID Neue Energie in German (for purchase) here.

For background read the CLEW dossier New technologies for the Energiewende.

Die Zeit

A global transition in the transport sector is inevitable – “with our without German products” – and the German government should use the good economic situation to stimulate change in the relevant industries, writes Petra Pinzler in an opinion piece in Die Zeit. “If the jobs-argument is to be used against environmental regulation in the future, it would be better if those jobs still existed,” writes Pinzler.

For background read the CLEW dossiers The Energiewende and German carmakers and The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.

German Bundestag / pv magazine

In a parliamentary inquiry, the Left Party asks the federal government for information on its contact with fossil and renewable energy interest groups. The party is worried that the voices of representatives of the fossil sector were heard more, which influenced government actions like the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) or the Climate Action Plan 2050, writes pv magazine.

Find the inquiry in German here and the pv magazine article in German here.

For background on what the Left Party campaigns for in the federal election, read the CLEW news digest entry “Investing in renewable energy, disempowering energy corporations”.

Federal Ministry for the Environment

The European Union was a stroke of luck for environment protection, says German federal environment minister Barbara Hendricks in a press release on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties signing. EU regulation made possible significant improvements for a challenge that “did not stop at national borders”, said Hendricks.

Find the press release in German here.

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