20 Apr 2018
Sören Amelang

Coal utility under pressure / Unions set to question climate goals

Steag / Die Welt / FAZ

Hard coal power station operator Steag, under pressure from strong wind energy production, is looking for a new investor after returning to profitability last year. Company CEO Joachim Rumstadt said at the annual press conference the company was looking to increase its capital, according to a FAZ report. Steag booked a profit of 59 million euros in 2017, following a loss of 220 million euros in 2016. The company is one of Germany’s largest conventional power generators, and is owned by a consortium of cash-strapped municipal utilities, which is why a capital increase would require a new investor.
Steag said it expected a slowdown in profit and sales in 2018, adding it was stepping up investments in renewables and decentral power generation to stop this trend, according to a report by news agency dpa carried by Die Welt. Steag closed an entire coal power station and another generating unit last year, which contributed two thirds to the entire power sector’s 2017 CO2 emissions decline, according to the company, which plans to close two further generating units this year. In January, hard coal power production almost halved year-on-year in Germany, while wind power almost doubled.

Find the company press release in English here.

Read the dpa report in German here.

Read a Reuters report on Steag in English here.

Find plenty of background in the dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

tageszeitung (taz)

The German Trade Union Association DGB is set to reposition itself on climate policy at its upcoming annual congress, reports Malte Kreutzfeldt in daily taz. In a draft paper on energy, the unions only say they support the Paris climate goals, thereby abandoning support for the more stringent targets defined in the government’s so-called Climate Action Plan 2050. Kreutzfeldt says it looks likely mining union IG BCE, one of Germany’s most ardent coal power supporters, is behind the reversal. The unions will vote on the issue at their federal congress in mid-May.

Find the article in German here.

Find background in the factsheet Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.

Gas made by electrolysis using renewable electricity could become cheaper than natural gas in the 2030s, according to an analysis by consultancy Energy Brainpool commissioned by Greenpeace Energy. This would require investments to push costs down, cheap power, and a realisation of climate and renewable targets in all sectors, according to the analysis.

Find the study in German here.

Find background in the factsheet Germany's dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Washington Post

Diesel fuel was invented by a German engineer and is pushed relentlessly by the country’s carmakers to this day, which is why banning it “has the feel of a ban on beer or bratwurst,” writes Griff Witte in a feature article for the Washington Post. “Yet the country is torn, caught between duelling identities as both a leader in going green and a master manufacturer of all things that go vroom.”

Read the article in English here.

Find background in the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A and the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

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