07 Jun 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

Coal-state SPD to push for national carbon price / Storage overrated?

Energie & Management

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) wants to advocate a national carbon price to advance the energy transition across all sectors, the Energie & Management magazine reports. The SPD’s NRW branch aims to launch an initiative in the council of Germany's federal state governments (Bundesrat) to introduce a CO2 floor price. However, the federal government opposes the plan, which economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier has plainly rejected. “We have got to do something,” commented SPD energy politician Andreas Rimkus.

Find the article in German here (paywall).

See the CLEW articles Energy minister rejects idea of changing fees and taxes on energy and German environment minister open to national carbon price.

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

In contrast to some recent analyses and arguments brought forward regularly in the energy policy debate, the need for storage is not an obstacle to the progress of the energy transition, according to a study published by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). The need for storage can be reduced greatly by allowing a “moderate throttling down of renewable generation peaks, meaning that not every single kilowatt-hour of energy produced by wind or solar plants must be stored,” write the study’s authors Wolf-Peter Schill, Alexander Zerrahn, Claudia Kemfert, and Christian von Hirschhausen. “Additionally, new flexible power users can greatly reduce the need for storage.”

Find the press release in German here and the study in English here.

For background, read the factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?

Federal German Association for Brown Coal (DEBRIV)

The German government’s ‘Commission on Growth, Structural Economic Change and Employment’ “must not become a coal exit commission, nor an uncritical trailblazer for a national climate protection act,” according to the Federal German Association for Brown Coal (DEBRIV). “It has become evident already that the security of Germany’s power supply can’t be guaranteed by 2022-23 at the latest,” said DEBRIV director Thorsten Diercks. “The lignite industry expects the 2030 EU climate target of cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels to be compatible with a continued use of domestic brown coal by the German economy according to the current plans and prospects for the mining regions,” DEBRIV said.
The association said that Germany’s lignite plants are only responsible for about 0.4 percent of global CO2 emissions. “Even with a total loss of this power production, the climate effect of a coal exit would only amount to 0.1 or 0.2 percent at best,” said Diercks. “Existing government and company plans make it possible and realistic to reduce CO2 emissions within the framework of the European ETS by a total of 87 percent by 2050 – without additional national regulatory measures that are compensable, by the way.” This is why the German lignite industry’s mines and power stations should follow through with the federal states’ and the companies’ current plans, DEBRIV says.

Find the press release in German here.

Find our collection of reactions to the launch of Germany’s coal exit commission here, and find plenty of background in the article Germany starts coal exit talks in bid to improve patchy climate record and in the factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission

The coal commission’s mandate is “nowhere near enough,” according to Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock. “The commission now has the difficult task of outgrowing this mandate. Neither the climate, nor the regions’ affected residents can afford a never ending story. We need prospects for employees and the regions, and rapid measures to reach the 2020 climate targets. Switching off coal power plants quickly will be part of this. The debate within the commission must not become an excuse for the government to no longer decide anything on climate protection. It has the political responsibility to initiate concrete steps so we can reach our climate targets after all,” Baerbock said in an emailed statement.

Find our collection of reactions to the launch of Germany’s coal exit commission here, and find plenty of background in the article Germany starts coal exit talks in bid to improve patchy climate record and in the factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission.  

Lübecker Nachrichten

A new regulation for noise emissions of wind turbines in Germany’s northern federal state of Schleswig-Holstein could mean that the turbines located near residential areas would have to be switched off overnight, Markus Billhardt writes in the Lübecker Nachrichten. Anti-wind power activist Holger Diedrich says the night-time noise limit value of 40 decibels for residential areas is being exceeded in many municipalities, and entire wind farms should be shut down at night to comply with the regulations. However, the state’s environment ministry says that only a few “individual turbines” are affected by the tighter rules, and that sufficient noise reduction has already been achieved by either throttling them down or by implementing mechanical upgrades.

See the CLEW factsheet Fighting windmills: when growth hits resistance for more information.

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